By James Hibberd
September 01, 2020 at 12:39 PM EDT
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Credit: Vivian Zink/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Joe Rogan made his Spotify debut on Tuesday, but apparently not all of his podcast episodes made the cut.

Dozens of past episodes with controversial guests are notably absent from the new Joe Rogan Experience channel, such as interviews with conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and David Seaman, far-right figures such as Owen Benjamin, Stefan Molyneux, Milo Yiannopoulos, Gavin McInnes, Charles C. Johnson, and Sargon of Akkad, as well as comedian Chris D'Elia (who has recently been accused of sexual impropriety). Also seemingly absent is an early episode where Rogan regular Joey Diaz infamously joked about coercing female comics into performing oral sex — an exchange that resurfaced in the press in the wake of the Spotify deal. A few of the vanished episodes were more perplexing, however, such as an interview with pot activist Tommy Chong.

When the Spotify deal was announced in May, Rogan told his listeners that "beginning Sept. 1, the entire JRE library will be available on Spotify." Now Rogan's fans are wondering whether Spotify refused to allow certain episodes, or if Rogan himself decided to trim the archive of his most frequently criticized content, or if this was some sort of oddly specific temporary oversight. A representative for Spotify and Rogan did not return a request for comment, and Rogan's Twitter feed was silent on the matter.

Mikhaila Peterson, daughter of the controversial professor and public speaker Jordan Peterson, slammed the move:

Spotify reportedly paid more than $100 million to lure the country's most popular podcaster exclusively to the streaming service. The Spotify-based shows launched with a marathon five-hour interview with comedian Duncan Trussell, but the missing episodes were not addressed. Rogan's shows are still currently available on YouTube and podcasting platforms like iTunes, but the plan is for JRE to move exclusively to Spotify by the end of the year. The partnership was considered a massive win for Spotify, which has seen its stock price nearly double since the deal was announced.

Rogan's podcast includes more than 1,500 episodes of long-form interviews with comedians, actors, sports figures, authors, intellectuals, and political commentators. The comedian and MMA commentator has long prided himself on talking to people from across the political spectrum and has frequently railed against "de-platforming" — tech companies that remove controversial voices.

“They want me to just continue doing it the way I’m doing it right now,” Rogan has previously said of the Spotify deal. “It’s just a licensing deal, so Spotify won’t have any creative control over the show. It will be the exact same show. We’re going to be working with the same crew doing the exact same show."

In a profile of Rogan in The Atlantic last August, writer Devin Gordon detailed Rogan's many strengths as a podcaster, yet also cited some of his guest choices as a serious blindspot: "Joe likes [Jack Dorsey]. He likes Milo Yiannopoulos. He likes Alex Jones. He wants you to know that he doesn’t agree with much of what they say, but he also wants you to know that off camera they’re the nicest guys. If we all have fatal flaws, this is Joe’s: his insistence on seeing value in people even when he shouldn’t, even when they’ve forfeited any right to it, even when the harm outweighs the good. It comes from a generous place, but it amounts to careless cruelty. He just won’t write people off, and then he compounds the sin by throwing them a lifeline at the moment when they least deserve it."

Now it seems in Rogan's move to Spotify that a handful of his most radioactive guests may have at last been written off — or, at least, off his new platform.

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