Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY has ended its exclusive multiyear first look deal with Spotify in the midst of its mess with controversial podcast host Joe Rogan. The announcement comes after Rogan was accused of spreading COVID-19 misinformation and heard repeatedly using the N-word on his show “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
According to the New York Times, DuVernay ended the deal this month. The film director announced the deal for scripted and unscripted podcast content last January, but hasn’t released any of the shows currently in production.
Here’s more from Deadline:
However, it can’t be ignored that the exit comes as classic rockers and others have taken Spotify to task for the Covid-19 vaccine “misinformation” and repeated use of the N-word by Joe Rogan. As the likes of the “Heart of Gold” songwriter have pulled their music from the service, self-described “moron” Rogan has alternated between apologizing for his language and his handling of guests and seemingly doubling down in playing to his audience.
Having forked out $100 million for exclusive rights to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Spotify has added some warning labels and uttered platitudes about “learning opportunities” as controversy continues to swirl around the contentious Rogan. Otherwise the Daniel Ek-run organization has pretty much backed its golden boy.
Array and Spotify unveiled their multi-year agreement to promote inclusive storytelling and produce exclusive scripted and unscripted series back in January 2021. As part of the deal, Array partnered with Spotify’s Gimlet studio with shows overseen by Array Filmworks’ now ex-president Sarah Bremner.
ARRAY’s exit is preceded by musicians Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and India Arie removing their catalogues from the streaming service. Deadline reports that Spotify’s shares dipped as recently as Thursday currently at a 52 week low of $155 compared to a stock high of almost $390 in 2021.
Still, the streaming service has decided to stand beside Rogan as to not “silence voices” even as celebrities such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and high profile politicians like Andrew Yang have walked back their support of Rogan and his show.