Meghan Markle's Spotify series gets summer go-ahead

Project confirmed after Joe Rogan podcast controversy raised concerns about Covid-19 misinformation

Spotify has assuaged Meghan Markle's concerns over its broadcasting of Covid-19 misinformation. AP
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The Duchess of Sussex's first Spotify podcast series will be launched this summer after she and her husband raised concerns about Covid-19 misinformation with the streaming platform.

The couple signed a lucrative deal with Spotify to host and produce podcasts, estimated to be worth around US $25 million), in late 2020 but have only recorded one show.

A representative for the audio subsidiary of the Sussexes' Archewell Foundation said they had been encouraged by ongoing conversations with the streaming platform, and have been working closely with its team towards policies and practices aimed at raising creator awareness and minimising the spread of misinformation.

The announcement came as footage was released of Prince Harry making a video call with Ukrainian staff from The Halo Trust, a landmine clearance organisation working since 2016 in the eastern European country.

Archewell has also made donations to a number of groups working on the ground to provide aid to Ukrainians, including Halo, which is supported by the duke.

In January, Neil Young reportedly offered Spotify an ultimatum to remove either his work or The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, which has been known to air vaccine-sceptical views.

When the singer later left the streaming platform, Joni Mitchell announced the same move "in solidarity" with his decision.

At the time, the Sussexes' charitable foundation said they had been expressing concerns but the couple were committed to continuing their work with the streaming platform.

A representative for Archewell Audio said as a result of their meetings with Spotify, the couple are "excited" to announce they are continuing production of Markle's "groundbreaking" first podcast series, set to launch be launched this summer — with more details to follow soon.

Joe Rogan is a divisive figure but his huge audience meant Spotify was loathe to cut him loose. AP

Following Young's reported concerns, Spotify said it aimed to balance "both safety for listeners and freedom for creators" and had removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

It acquired The Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2020, reportedly for more than $100m.

Stand-up comedian Rogan, 54, has previously attracted controversy for suggesting the young and healthy should not get vaccinated.

Updated: March 19, 2022, 7:00 AM