Joni Mitchell Leaving Spotify, Citing COVID Misinformation

Joni Mitchell is removing her entire catalog from Spotify, days after Neil Young made the same decision. Like Young, Mitchell says she’s leaving the streaming platform due to its role in spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines via Joe Rogan’s ultra-popular Spotify-exclusive podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. Mitchell announced the decision in a message on her website, where she also republished a recent open letter to Spotify from 270 doctors, scientists, professors, and healthcare professionals calling for Spotify to implement a more rigorous misinformation policy. The letter was issued after Rogan’s Dec. 31 episode featured Dr. Robert Malone, who has repeatedly spread false and harmful claims about the vaccines.

Here is the full text of Mitchell’s announcement:

I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify. Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue. —Joni Mitchell

And here is an excerpt from the open letter raising concerns about Rogan:

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine. He has discouraged vaccination in young people and children, incorrectly claimed that mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy,” promoted off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 (contrary to FDA warnings), and spread a number of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. In episode #1757, Rogan hosted Dr. Robert Malone, who was suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. Dr. Malone used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have “hypnotized” the public. Many of these statements have already been discredited. Notably, Dr. Malone is one of two recent JRE guests who has compared pandemic policies to the Holocaust. These actions are not only objectionable and offensive, but also medically and culturally dangerous.

At the start of this week Young announced his intention to remove his music from Spotify, citing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines on Joe Rogan’s Spotify-exclusive podcast as his reason. “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” Young wrote. By Wednesday, Young’s music had started to disappear from the streaming platform as requested. This caused lots of Spotify’s competitors to publicly celebrate their continued access to Young’s catalog. It also resulted in Young defending his stance in a subsequent open letter: “Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information.”

Notably, as children in Canada, both Young and Mitchell suffered from polio before a vaccine was introduced.

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