About this episode
“You can have Rogan or Young. Not both.” So threatened Neil Young to Spotify in protest to the vaccine and COVID misinformation being spread on Joe Rogan’s incredibly popular and lucrative podcast. As more artists began to pull out from the platform, and users deleted their accounts, many decried what they viewed as the latest episode in an ongoing battle over control of the information landscape. Those claiming censorship argue that the Joe Rogan/Spotify episode, following in the footsteps of recent controversies such as Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special, is part of a worrisome trend reminiscent of authoritarian style information control that seeks to silence opinions of adversaries that deviate from the “accepted” mode of thought. The continuous effort to de-platform, ban, silence, or tarnish the views of others cannot be allowed to prevail in western democracies.
Others argue that this is not censorship, but rather legitimate protest: people using their money, art, voice, and agency to stand up against views they disagree with. In fact, they maintain, this type of protest should be championed as proof that democratic freedoms remain strong. Furthermore, demands of free speech are often aimed at protecting views which have negative impacts - views that should not be allowed to gain traction and influence audiences via massive platforms like Spotify or Netflix.