As the controversy surrounding Spotify’s relationship with podcast host Joe Rogan continues, Rumble has offered Rogan $100 million to bring his show, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” over to the free-speech-centric video platform.
Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski wrote in an open letter posted to Twitter on Monday that he stands with Rogan, who has recently come under fire for spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and using racial slurs on the massively popular podcast.
“We stand with you, your guests, and your legion of fans in desire for real conversation,” Pavlovski wrote. “So we’d like to offer you 100 million reasons to make the world a better place. How about you bring all your shows to Rumble, both old and new, with no censorship, for 100 million bucks over four years? This is our chance to save the world. And yes, this is totally legit.”
Neither Rumble nor Rogan immediately responded to TIME’s request for comment.
Since launching in 2013, Rumble, a Canadian video-sharing platform that presents itself as an alternative to YouTube, has become a right-wing haven. The site saw significant growth following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with monthly viewership surging from 1.6 million users in fall 2020 to 31.9 million by the end of 2021’s first quarter. It has since received backing from a group of prominent conservative venture capitalists including Peter Thiel and Hillbilly Elegy author J.D. Vance.
After Rumble announced on Dec. 1 that it was planning to go public at an initial enterprise value of $2.1 billion, Trump Media and Technology Group shared on Dec. 14 that Donald Trump’s proposed social media platform, TRUTH Social, had partnered with Rumble.
“Rumble was designed to be immune to cancel culture, and we are at the forefront of a movement that believes everyone benefits from access to a neutral platform that hosts diverse ideas and opinions,” Pavlovski said of the partnership in a press release.
As things currently stand, Rogan signed a $100 million deal giving Spotify exclusive rights to his show in 2020. The streaming service has responded to the ongoing controversy—which has prompted artists like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, India Arie, and Crosby, Stills & Nash to pull their music from the platform in protest—by announcing it will add content warnings to podcasts that address COVID-19 and entering into discussions with Rogan that resulted in the removal of as many as 70 episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
“Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful—I want to make clear that they do not represent the values of this company,” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a Feb. 6 memo to staff before reasserting that he doesn’t believe that “silencing Joe is the answer.”
“We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope,” he said.
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