Joe Rogan's popular and controversial podcast briefly vanished from Spotify's platform on Friday afternoon as a result of what the streaming service called a 'technical issue.'
The Joe Rogan Experience, which has been at the center of a firestorm over COVID misinformation claims and the host's repeated use of the n-word, was unavailable to Spotify users for about 20 minutes. Shares in the streaming giant plunged by five per cent in the wake of the outage, and closed 4.33 percent down on Thursday.
The streaming service told Engadget that a number of shows were being affected by an unspecified 'technical issue,' which Spotify promised should be resolved soon.
Rogan's podcast can now be accessed again.
Spotify's shares dipped 5 percent after Rogan's show temporarily disappeared from its platform.
The company has been under fire after Rogan, who signed a $200-million deal with Spotify in 2020, according to latest reporting by the New York Times, aired controversial COVID-19 views on his show and drew protests from artists Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby and India Arie, who pulled their music from Spotify.
Earlier this month, film director Ava DuVernay, severed her ties with Spotify as she was set to produce a podcast with the company over its backing of Rogan.
Spotify's Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff told advertisers at a conference last week that the backlash around Rogan's podcast had been a 'real learning experience' for the streaming service.
Despite intense criticism over Rogan's anti-coronavirus vaccine comments and use of racial slurs, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek made it clear that his company is not willing to part ways with him.
In a message to employees earlier this month, Ek acknowledged that Rogan’s racist language was 'incredibly hurtful' and said that the comedian and host was behind the removal of dozens of episodes of 'The Joe Rogan Experience.'
'While I strongly condemn what Joe has said and I agree with his decision to remove past episodes from our platform, I realize some will want more,' Ek said in the note. 'And I want to make one point very clear — I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer.'
He continued: 'we should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope. Looking at the issue more broadly, it’s critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.'
The company's shares, which have fallen about 59 percent since hitting a record high nearly a year ago, were trading at $152.27 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday afternoon.