Joe Rogan is giving Spotify an ultimatum — again.
The hugely popular, and hugely controversial, podcast host is threatening to quit the music streaming giant, leaving their $200 million deal on the table.
During a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Podcast,” the former mixed martial arts commentator got into a conversation with MMA fighter Josh Barnett about the cutthroat podcast industry ring.
“I will quit. If it gets to a point that I can’t do it anymore, where I have to do it in some sort of weird way where I walk on eggshells and mind my p’s and q’s, f–k that!” Rogan said.
Referring to recent headlines spawned by his problematic banter — from using the N-word to spreading COVID-19 misinformation — Rogan, 54, described his fear of being picked apart by the public for “every little thing.”
“There’s more people poring over it but it’s the same thing. I do it the same way,” Rogan told the 44-year-old heavyweight.
“If I become something different because it grew bigger, I will quit,” he concluded.
His troubling pandemic rhetoric culminated recently when a group of 270 doctors and health care experts called Rogan a “menace to public health” in an open letter to Spotify.
Their signed warning couldn’t move the app to act, so musician activists Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Nils Lofgren did, announcing a boycott of the platform.
Spotify has since slapped a content advisory on some of Rogan’s episodes containing questionable discussion of COVID-19.
During yet another public review, it also removed 113 episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” namely those featuring interviews with far-right pundits, such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Proud Boys associate Gavin McInnes.
In the meantime, his critics have indeed had time to dredge up even more troubling comments from Rogan’s past, including the use of the N-word — for which he promptly apologized upon re-reveal, calling it “the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.”
“It looks f–king horrible. Even to me,” Rogan said, acknowledging his reputation for shocking statements. “I know that, to most people, there is no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that now. I haven’t said it in years.”
During Tuesday’s episode, Rogan said his job “requires sincerity; without it, this show doesn’t have any success.”
Barnett urged his friend and former colleague to keep having difficult conversations. “It resonates with people because they’re so starving for that.”
Reporting by The New York Post.