Joe Rogan comes under fire for using racial slurs on podcast as artists continue to boycott Spotify
Austin resident Joe Rogan is catching heat after a clip resurfaced of him saying the N-word nearly two dozen times on his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
Rogan took to Instagram early Saturday to talk about the clip.
“I know that to most people, there’s no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that now,” Rogan said.
He added that in some instances where he said it, he was quoting bits from comedians like Lenny Bruce or Paul Mooney.
He also addressed another part of the clip where he's telling about being dropped off to see a movie with friends in Philadelphia. In it, he refers to a Black neighborhood as “Planet of the Apes.”
“I was trying to make the story entertaining,” Rogan said.
Rogan has been in the spotlight the past couple of weeks as artists boycott Spotify, which exclusively hosts Rogan’s podcast in an over $100 million deal.
The boycott started late last month with Neil Young, who gave the streaming platform an ultimatum: “Rogan or Young. Not both," removing his music from the platform. Rogan has been criticized for his content on the podcast surrounding COVID-19. Doctors and scientists wrote an open letter to Spotify, asking for the company to take action against the “mass misinformation events” on the podcast.
Young shared a similar view saying, “Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines—potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation.”
As users and artists encourage people to leave the platform, Spotify quietly removed about 70 episodes of Rogan’s podcast on Friday and has yet to provide a public explanation.
The backbone of Spotify is the music so you pay the musicians that are the backbone of your business .003-.005% of a penny and you take this money that you generate over here… and you use it to invest in this guy?” —India Arie
Singer India Arie is one of the latest to join the boycott. And with that decision, she shared the already-circulating clip of Rogan using the racial slur on her Instagram story.
She explained that her reasons for leaving Spotify went beyond the discussions about COVID on his podcast, and added that on social media, statements can be doctored or taken out of context.
“However I want to be clear in no uncertain terms where I stand on this is that he shouldn’t even be uttering the word,” Arie said. “Don’t even say it. Under any context.”
She says Spotify artist relations called her this week to try to come to an understanding, but she continues to boycott. “There’s historical context here that makes all this matter,” Arie said.
She noted the vast role of Black music to Spotify and the industry, saying they’ve been underpaid and mistreated.
“The backbone of Spotify is the music so you pay the musicians that are the backbone of your business .003-.005% of a penny and you take this money that you generate over here… and you use it to invest in this guy?” Arie asked. “Do what you want, but take me off or pay me too. And I don’t just mean me. I mean us, artists like me. Pay us too. Pay podcasters of color too.”
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Flyers are less satisfied with the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport than a year ago, a new study shows.
Research firm J.D. Power placed ABIA at No. 15 on a list ranking overall customer satisfaction at large airports, a slip from last year’s spot at No. 7. Other Texas airports secured rankings ahead of Austin, with Dallas Love Field at third, Houston Hobby at eight, and San Antonio International Airport at ninth.
Dallas/Ft. Worth ranked eight in the "mega airport" category.
The study examined airports based on the following factors: terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.
On a 1,000-point scale, Austin-Bergstrom received 785 points this year compared to its score of 819 in 2021.
Passenger experiences at Austin-Bergstrom have been influenced by population growth in Central Texas, which has brought record traffic and longer wait times at TSA. And a recent power outage at Austin-Bergstrom caused flight delays. Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power., said that consumer satisfaction with flying has decreased overall.
“The combination of pent-up demand for air travel, the nationwide labor shortage and steadily rising prices on everything from jet fuel to a bottle of water have created a scenario in which airports are extremely crowded and passengers are increasingly frustrated—and it is likely to continue through 2023,” Taylor said.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, commented on the ranking.
“We're grateful that AUS customers continue to rank our airport above average, especially during this year that saw air travel disruption here in Austin and across the globe as airports, airlines and the air travel industry continued navigating the impacts of the pandemic,” Grimmett said. “We look forward to delivering near-term and long-term improvements through our Journey With AUS program to improve the passenger experience.”
That program is slated to bring a new midfield concourse to increase gates and connect to the Barbara Jordan Terminal through an underground connector tunnel.
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By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.