The head of the World Health Organisation has backed Neil Young in his dispute with the music streaming platform Spotify for hosting Joe Rogan’s podcast, which has given a platform to anti-vax conspiracists.
Young, 76, hit out at Rogan’s immensely popular show for spreading lies about vaccines and Covid-19 that has put lives at risk.
And in a tweet, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 56, thanked the rock legend for standing up against misinformation and inaccuracies around #COVID19 vaccination”, adding: “Public and private sector, in particular social media platforms, media, individuals — we all have a role to play to end this pandemic and infodemic.”
His remarks came as #deletespotify trended on social media, as many of Young’s fans backed his stance calling for a boycott of the streaming giant.
Spotify has said it “regrets” musician Young’s decision to remove his music from the platform over the spread of coronavirus misinformation.
The streaming giant said it tried to achieve balance and had removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic and hoped to welcome Young back soon.
Spotify said it aimed to balance “both safety for listeners and freedom for creators”.
“We want all the world’s music and audio content to be available to Spotify users,” the company said in a statement shared by US media outlets.
“With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators.
“We have detailed content policies in place and we’ve removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid since the start of the pandemic.
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon”.
The Joe Rogan Experience was acquired by Spotify in 2020, reportedly for more than 100 million dollars (£77m).
Stand-up comedian Rogan has previously attracted controversy for suggesting the young and healthy should not get vaccinated.
The 54-year-old contracted the virus in September of last year.