November 30, 2023

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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Condemns Kanye West’s “Awful” Antisemitic Comments, Says He Has No Authority to Remove His Music

Spotify’s Daniel Ek has spoken out against recent antisemitic comments from Kanye West. In an interview with Reuters, the co-founder and CEO called West’s remarks “just awful comments,” while noting that Spotify won’t be removing the rapper’s music from the platform.

Ek went on to say that, because West’s statements were not made in songs or podcasts hosted on Spotify, they do not violate the company’s hate speech policy. “It’s really just his music, and his music doesn’t violate our policy,” he explained. “It’s up to his label, if they want to take action or not.”

Ek’s comments follow a series of other actions taken by Spotify to reduce hate speech on the platform. In May 2018, the company introduced its hate content and hateful conduct policy. Under the policy, Spotify temporarily removed R. Kelly and XXXTentacion’s music from their editorial and algorithmic playlists before walking back on the decision one month later and allowing XXXTentacion’s music to return to their playlists. “We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job,” Ek said at the time.

Spotify’s current hate speech policy stipulates that the company “does not permit content whose principle purpose is to incite hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” and that it “will remove content that violates that standard.”

Earlier this week, West was dropped by his booking agency and lawyer due to his antisemitic comments. A documentary film produced by MCR has also been shelved in response to the remarks, and the clothing brands Adidas and Balenciaga have also cut ties with the rapper.

Pitchfork has reached out to the respective representatives for Spotify and West’s former label, Def Jam Recordings, for comment.

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