Comic, podcaster and sports commentator Joe Rogan's exclusive licensing agreement with Spotify is almost double what was initially reported, two sources familiar with the deal told The New York Times.
The 3½-year deal, signed in May 2020, is worth at least $200 million, the two sources told the outlet.
Rogan has been accused of spreading COVID-19 misinformation by a coalition of doctors and science educators last month, leading several artists to pull their music from the streaming service in protest, according to the Times.
Then earlier this month, footage of Rogan using racial slurs resurfaced in an attempt to cancel the podcast host, leading him to issue an apology, NBC News reported.
UFC champion Israel Adesanya interrupted a question directed at league president Dana White at a press conference on Feb. 10 to defend Rogan, who began his career providing commentary on UFC fights.
''First off, let me take this one. Hold up. I'm Black. I can take this one,'' Adesanya said, according to MMA Junkie. ''Look, there's a lot of [expletive deleted] in this game. There are a lot of snakes in this game. I've been in this fight game since 2008. Joe Rogan is one of the nicest, coolest, humble [expletive deleted] I've had the pleasure of working with. Understand that.
''You know what they're trying to do. You can't control the man. He's got the biggest platform in the world right now. ... Just keep doing you, Joe. Have some mushrooms. Keep doing you.''
More than 70 episodes of his podcast have been pulled from Spotify.
In a leaked memo to employees, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that Rogan chose to remove the episodes from the platform, according to The Hill.
''We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope,'' Ek said in the memo. ''Looking at the issue more broadly, it's critical thinking and open debate that powers real and necessary progress.''
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