Joe Rogan faced extreme backlash for his past use of the N-word. A compilation video surfaced of Mr. Rogan and some of his guests using the N-word over 70 times on his show.

The controversy began in January after musician Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify in objection to what Young said was COVID-19 misinformation spread by Joe Rogan on the podcast.

Mr. Young directed his fans to other streaming services, including Amazon and Apple. Young even issued a letter suggesting Spotify employees leave the company and artists to “find a better place” to host their content.

After the public scrutiny, Mr. Rogan took to Instagram to apologize for his actions and save his reputation or lack thereof. He offered a half-ass apology for what he called “the most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.”

“I know that to most people, there’s no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that,” he said, adding that he hasn’t used the slur in recent years.

“I never used it to be racist because I’m not racist,” he said. “But whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you f-ed up. And I clearly have f-ed up. And that’s my intention to express myself in this.”

Rogan chose to remove some episodes from Spotify following discussions with the company. It was reported that 113 of Joe Rogan’s episodes had been taken off Spotify.

“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. And I want to make one point very clear—I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” Mr. Ek said in his letter to staffers. “We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope.”

The racial controversy has been a challenge for Spotify. The company is going to likely have more confronting decisions about racist content that will need to be appropriately addressed. This serves as a huge learning lesson for Spotify. Like other tech giants, Spotify is moving toward being a top media company which makes them responsible for what it distributes.