Joe Rogan apologises, Spotify to add advisory to COVID podcasts

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Popular US podcaster Joe Rogan has apologised amid a backlash against COVID-19 misinformation in his programme, while his platform, Spotify Technology SA , said it would add a "content advisory" to any episode with discussion of COVID.

Rogan, a prominent vaccine sceptic, has stirred controversy with his views on the pandemic and on vaccines and government mandates to control the spread of the virus.

Singer-songwriters Neil Young and Joni Mitchell announced last week that they were removing their music from Spotify in protest at coronavirus misinformation broadcast on the platform.

Young objected to his music being played on the same platform as the top-rated podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.

And 270 scientists and medical professionals wrote urging Spotify to prevent Rogan spreading falsehoods.

In a 10-minute Instagram video post on Sunday evening, Rogan apologised to Spotify for the backlash but defended inviting contentious guests.

"If I pissed you off, I'm sorry," Rogan said. "I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people's perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view."

Separately, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek posted a blog saying an advisory will direct listeners to a COVID-19 hub that contains information from medical and health experts, as well as links to authoritative sources.

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have also expressed their concern to Spotify about COVID-19 misinformation but will continue to work with the company, a spokesperson for their Archewell foundation said on Sunday.

On Saturday, best-selling US professor and author Brené Brown - host of the Spotify-exclusive podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead - said she would not release any podcasts until further notice. She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Spotify is also publishing platform rules for its creators.

"It is important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them," Ek wrote. 

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