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PODCAST | Critics of Neil Young are wrong to claim he’s against ...


Eusebius on TimesLIVE

PODCAST | Critics of Neil Young are wrong to claim he’s against free speech

Many argue his ultimatum to Spotify constitutes intolerance towards different views, but that’s unhelpful. Here’s why

Contributor and analyst

In this episode of Eusebius on TimesLIVE, he explores the claim by some critics of Neil Young that the rock star has abandoned his commitment to free speech. Young’s music was taken off Spotify after he gave them an ultimatum to either kick podcaster Joe Rogan off their platform for disseminating false information about vaccines or to remove his music if they were not prepared to censure the popular podcast host. They sided with their biggest money-making podcaster.

Interestingly, many have argued that Young’s ultimatum to Spotify constitutes intolerance towards those who happen to hold a different view. McKaiser links the Neil Young case study to an aspect of the debate about minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s column in which she attacked the judiciary, the constitution and the rule of law. Some of her defenders also claimed her critics had abandoned any respect for freedom of speech. In this episode, McKaiser argues it is both unhelpful and inaccurate to claim that speech rights are at issue in these debates. He explains how the real issue is about whether the content of Rogan’s podcast and of Sisulu’s columns are reckless or harmful. While we can disagree on the latter issue, argues McKaiser, it is not correct to frame such criticism of Rogan or of Sisulu as a slide towards authoritarianism.

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