Spotify deleted several of Alex Jones’ podcast episodes Wednesday following outcry from users who criticized the company for giving a platform to a dangerous conspiracy theorist.
“We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community,” a Spotify spokeswoman told Vanity Fair. “Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of ‘The Alex Jones Show’ podcast for violating our hate content policy.”
The company did not provide any further detail as to what hate speech was used in the podcasts removed. Dozens of Jones’ podcast episodes remain available on the streaming service, dating back to at least June 2017.
Spotify was forced to take action after some users announced a boycott of the service due to its decision to host The Alex Jones Show. Jones has long been known for smearing victims of terrible tragedies, fear-mongering about immigrants and LGBTQ people, and spreading wild conspiracy theories. (As Vox pointed out, the show also appears on Apple Podcasts.)
Infowars is on Spotify.
It is incredibly difficult to get podcasts hosted on Spotify. pic.twitter.com/0ZBclLmXiw
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) July 30, 2018
Spotify’s decision comes just days after Facebook and YouTube removed a small number of Infowars videos from their platforms and threatened the conspiracy theorist with suspension due to violations of community standards. Facebook also suspended Jones’ personal page for 30 days.
While it is unclear what Jones said in the videos that violated those standards, last Tuesday, Jones broadcast a diatribe against Special Counsel Robert Mueller in which it appeared he threatened to shoot Mueller and accused him of being a pedophile.
As previously reported by ThinkProgress:
“Of the four videos that were removed by YouTube, two reportedly contained hate speech against Muslims, one contained hate speech against transgender people, and one was described as bullying. YouTube gave Jones’ account a strike, which prevents him from live streaming for 90 days. Jones had previously been given another strike in February for claiming the survivors of the Parkland shooting were “crisis actors,’but that strike expired in June.”
Jones, who has disseminated multiple conspiracy theories, including his most notorious claim that the families of the children killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School are crisis actors, is currently in the middle of several lawsuits; his repeated smearing of people as crisis actors — both after the Sandy Hook shooting and the Charlottesville attack — has led to survivors’ families being repeatedly harassed and sent death threats by Jones’ supporters.
Lenny Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, the parents of Sandy Hook victim Noah Pozner, penned an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg detailing the level of harassment they face on a daily basis from the individuals who buy into Jones’ conspiracy theories as a result of Facebook continuing to allow Jones to post on the platform.
“Our families are in danger as a direct result of the hundreds of thousands of people who see and believe the lies and hate speech, which you have decided should be protected,” the parents wrote.
Zuckerberg has repeatedly defended Facebook’s decision to not ban Jones from the site, saying those who deny the events at Sandy Hook or even historical tragedies like the Holocaust are simply voicing their opinion. Those opinions, he has claimed, are protected on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Jones is trying to dismiss his two cases under the Texas Citizens Participation Act, which protects the right to free speech against plaintiffs who attempt to silence citizens through costly litigation. Jones is seeking over $100,000 in court costs from the Pozner family.