Spotify has really been tripping over its own “hateful content” policies as of late. The streaming giant already reversed a policy that saw it remove controversial artists like R. Kelly and the late XXXTentacion from its promoted playlists. Now, the company is facing new backlash for hosting podcasts by controversial conservative radio personality Alex Jones.
Podcaster Jared Holt (of Sh*tpostpodcast) was the first to note the inclusion of Jones’ InfoWars podcast on Spotify, which appears to have been added some time over the last 24 hours. In a response, a number of Spotify subscribers have threatened to cancel their accounts if Jones’ podcast isn’t removed. Several musicians are also participating in the proposed boycott: “Hey @Spotify @spotifyartists @SpotifyCares how do I go about getting my music pulled off of your service?” wrote musician @ChrisMezzolesta. “I can do without the extra $0.09 a year it pays me to no longer be associated in any way with destructive people like @infowars.”
Jones and InfoWars are infamous for peddling far-right conspiracy theories, from claiming the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax to supporting the ridiculous “Pizzagate” story. Facebook recently served Jones a 30-day ban and removed four videos he and InfoWars posted, saying the “journalist” had repeatedly violated their policies. (The ban does not extend to the InfoWars Facebook page or its administrators, so Jones can still appear in content so long as he’s not the one posting it.) A spokeswoman for Facebook said the social media platform may remove Jones’ account entirely if he continues violating its policies (via The New York Times).
YouTube also removed four videos from Jones’ channel, a violation that triggered a 90-day live-streaming ban. If he receives two more strikes, Jones’ account will be terminated. YouTube served him one strike back in February for claiming Parkland survivor and activist David Hogg was a “crisis actor,” but since there were no other strikes during that 90-day ban, the strike was erased.
We’ve reached out to Spotify representatives for comment. Update – August 1st: Spotify has pulled certain episodes of Alex Jones’ podcast for violating the company’s “hate content policy,” according to an issued statement. “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community,” the statement adds.