Musician Neil Young threatened to cancel all of his music availability on Spotify, saying the company is "spreading false information about vaccines" because it distributes comedian Joe Rogan's podcast, which has drawn the ire of many critics for pushing various COVID-19-related conspiracy theories.
In a since-deleted open letter, Young accused Spotify of "potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them" and said he did not in good conscience have his music distributed by a company that has played a role in spreading vaccine misinformation.
His letter read, in part:
"Please immediately inform Spotify that I am actively canceling all my music availability on Spotify as soon as possible."
"I am doing this because Spotify is spreading false information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them. Please act on this immediately today and keep me informed of the time schedule."
"I want you to let Spotify know immediately today that I want all of my music off their platform. They can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”
Young's demands come as public health experts urge Spotify to block Rogan, whose podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, is the most-listened to podcast on the audio-streaming service.
A group of more than 260 doctors and health professionals called on Spotify to "implement a misinformation policy," saying Rogan, who has repeatedly railed against COVID-19 vaccines, "has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine."
Spotify has not responded to either these demands but many have praised Young for speaking out, criticized Spotify and Rogan, and expressed their faith in public health experts.
Rogan has refused to listen to public health experts who've stressed that getting vaccinated is the best line of defense against COVID-19, which is continuing to rage across much of the country due to the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Rogan was forced to cancel a sold out Vancouver show last month, admitting he likely would be denied entry into Canada because he is not vaccinated.
He doubled down, however, on his refusal to get vaccinated and continued to assert that natural immunity from a prior COVID-19 infection is reason enough not to get the shot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long debunked claims natural immunity is more beneficial than the vaccine.
In fact, a study published in August showed "unvaccinated individuals are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated after initially contracting the virus."
It also pointed out COVID-19 vaccines "offer better protection than natural immunity alone and that vaccines, even after prior infection, help prevent reinfections."