Spotify removes 113 episodes of Joe Rogan's podcast as Dwayne Johnson backtracks support

Spotify has removed over 100 episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast after celebrities slammed the streaming service for allowing the podcaster to spread COVID misinformation and use of a racial slur.

On Monday, Spotify had removed 113 episodes of Rogan's podcast, according to the tracking site

Rogan's podcast is the most listened to on the streaming service, drawing 11 million listeners per episode. Spotify reportedly paid US$100m for the rights to the podcast.

Musician Neil Young was the first to lead a boycott of the streaming service, saying: "They can have Rogan or Young. Not both."

Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell joined Young in pulling her catalogue, and was soon followed by Graham Nash and India Arie.

While most have pulled their music from the streaming service for Rogan spreading COVID-19 misinformation, Arie cited his "problematic" use of "language around race" among other issues with Spotify.

Arie shared a compilation of the podcaster using the n-word more than 20 times from different episodes, which Rogan claimed was over a 12-year span. 

One of the shows where Rogan used racial slurs was when he hosted controversial academic Dr Jordan Peterson on his podcast, where they joked about the words used to describe skin tone. 

Rogan asserted that it was "very strange" to call someone Black unless they're from the "darkest place" in Africa where "they're not wearing any clothes all day". 

Rogan apologised over the incident on his Instagram where he said it was the "most regretful and shameful thing" he has ever had to address publicly.

"I know that to most people, there's no context where a White person is ever allowed to say that, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that," he said. 

"Now, I haven't said it in years," Rogan added.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had previously shown support of Rogan's podcast by saying he was "looking forward" to appearing on the show.

Now the movie star has backtracked on his comments after learning about Rogan's use of the n-word. 

Don Winslow, who is a world-leading American author, posted a tweet to Johnson where he said: "You're a hero to many people and using your platform to defend Joe Rogan, a guy that used and laughed about using the N-word dozens of times, is a terrible use of your power".

Johnson replied to Winslow admitting he was "not aware" of Rogan's use of the n-word and said it was a "learning moment" for him. 

Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek defended Rogan's podcast, noting he was leading 93 markets.

"There are many things that Joe Rogan says that I strongly disagree with and find very offensive," Ek conceded when addressing Spotify staff at a company town hall, calling the fallout "incredibly complicated" and a learning moment.

"We're not in the business of dictating the discourse that these creators want to have on their shows.

"I know some of you feel disappointed, or angry, or even hurt, by some of this content and the fact that it remains on our platform."