Spotify appears to have quietly pulled several episodes “The Alex Jones Show,” hosted by the notorious right-wing conspiracy theorist and founder of Infowars, after a media watchdog group discovered that several episodes had appeared on the streaming service in recent days.
In 2018, Spotify banned Jones from its platform, after Apple Podcasts, Facebook and YouTube did the same, citing violations of their hate-speech policies.
Despite that, since Feb. 20, full-length episodes of “The Alex Jones Show” had been uploaded daily to Spotify, according to a report Wednesday by Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group. In addition, Jones’ podcast was the first result that appeared on Spotify when searching for “Infowars.”
By Thursday morning, the episodes of “The Alex Jones Show” were no longer available on Spotify. A Spotify rep declined to comment.
It’s not clear who had uploaded “The Alex Jones Show” episodes to Spotify. The platform allows users to self-publish audio content, although Spotify says that is reviewed by human moderators and is subject to restrictions. It now has a vast catalog of podcast programming: At the end of 2021, Spotify hosted 3.6 million podcasts, up from 2.2 million a year earlier.
Still available on Spotify, however, is the Oct. 27, 2020, episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” in which Jones appeared as a guest. During the podcast, Jones claimed the COVID pandemic was being used by elites to “reorganize society” and “end prosperity,” while also asserting that “a lot of studies” have shown that wearing masks doesn’t protect people in large groups from getting infected with the coronavirus. Jones also falsely claimed that an oral vaccine funded by Bill Gates caused polio among all of those who received it.
Scrutiny of Spotify’s content policies has intensified in recent weeks, sparked by a backlash over its exclusive $200 million-plus deal to distribute Rogan’s extremely popular podcast — which has included COVID misinformation and instances of Rogan using the N-word. Spotify has tried to do damage control, pulling 70 “JRE” episodes in which Rogan used “racially insensitive language,” while CEO Daniel Ek disclosed Spotify’s official content policies and said the company would add info labels on podcast episodes that include conversations about COVID-19.
Meanwhile, “The Alex Jones Show” remains accessible through Google Podcasts, which links to third-party services and doesn’t host the content itself.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Jones is “almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America.” Among other things, Jones claimed the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut — which killed 20 children and six adults — was a “giant hoax” perpetrated by “crisis actors.” (He lost several defamation suits filed by parents of Sandy Hook victims.) Jones also has said that NFL players protesting during the national anthem were “kneeling to white genocide” and accused the U.S. government of being behind the 9/11 attacks.