Prince Harry and Meghan’s foundation is speaking out amid complaints that Spotify is allowing Covid-19 misinformation on its platform, but said they have no plans on ending their partnership.
“Since the inception of Archewell, we have worked to address the real-time global misinformation crisis. Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the serious harms of rampant mis- and disinformation every day,” an Archewell spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News.
The couple announced in 2020 that they would produce and host podcasts exclusively on Spotify through their audio production company, Archewell Audio.
Prince Harry and Meghan said in their statement that their co-founders “began expressing concerns” to Spotify last April “about the all too real consequences of COVID-19 misinformation on its platform.”
“We have continued to express our concerns to Spotify to ensure changes to its platform are made to help address this public health crisis,” the spokesperson said. “We look to Spotify to meet this moment and are committed to continuing our work together as it does.”
Their remarks follow musicians Joni Mitchell and Neil Young pulling their catalogs from Spotify. Both artists expressed frustrations over some of the platform’s content regarding vaccines, namely Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Rogan has been heavily criticized for misinformation about vaccines, including from guests on his “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. The program is available exclusively on Spotify and reached No. 1 globally in 2021, the streaming platform said in December.
“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” Young said in an open letter posted on his website Monday but which was later removed, according to Rolling Stone magazine. NBC News has not seen the original post, and it is unclear why it was removed from Young’s website.
Spotify on Wednesday said it agreed to remove Young’s music.
In a written statement Wednesday, a Spotify spokesperson said the platform wants all music and audio content to be available to its users.
“With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators,” the spokesperson said, adding that the streaming service has content policies in place and has removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid-19.
Young told fans on Twitter that his music is still available on Amazon Music, Apple Music, and his website.
“Private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information,” the singer wrote in another letter to fans. “I am happy and proud to stand in solidarity with the front line health care workers who risk their lives every day to help others.
Mitchell removed her music in solidarity with Young, sharing a letter from medical professionals and scientists criticizing Rogan’s podcast for what they said was a history of misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines.
“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives,” Mitchell wrote in a post on her website. “I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.”