Hundreds of medical professionals are asking Spotify to deal with medical misinformation on its platform—including problematic content on the show of its most popular podcaster. An open letter from 270 doctors, scientists, and other professionals says that throughout the pandemic, "Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine." The letter doesn't ask Spotify to pull The Joe Rogan Experience, but it says the company needs to "establish a clear and public policy to moderate misinformation on its platform," Deadline reports. They note that the average age of Rogan listeners is 24, putting them in an age group 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID if they are unvaccinated.
The letter cites a recent episode featuring Dr. Robert Malone as an example of Spotify's "failure to mitigate the damage it is causing." It notes that Malone—one of two recent JRE guests who have "compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust"—has been suspended from Twitter for spreading COVID misinformation and used his time on Rogan's show to spread more "falsehoods." Malone claimed that "mass formation psychosis" was causing people to believe that vaccines work, Rolling Stone reports. He also claimed, among other things, that the Biden administration was hushing up proof that ivermectin works as a COVID treatment.
Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health, tells Rolling Stone that she considers Rogan a "menace to public health" because he has repeatedly given a platform to the "fringe ideas" of anti-vaxxers, creating a "false balance." "Having it on a huge platform makes it seem there are two sides to this issue. And there are really not," she says. "The overwhelming evidence is the vaccine works, and it is safe." (Last year, Rogan said it was "crazy" for children to get vaccinated against COVID.)