Spotify, Apple and Google allowing Daily Wire to spread dangerous ‘anti-trans hate’

Daily Wire host Michael Knowles wears a button up shirt and jacket as he talks to his podcast/show audience about his anti-trans Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) speech

Spotify and Apple Podcasts are allowing Daily Wire host Michael Knowles to remain on their platforms, despite his calls for an eradication of “transgenderism”.

Knowles has been accused of calling for trans genocide after saying society should to “ban transgenderism entirely”, in a 27 February episode of his The Michael Knowles Show on The Daily Wire.

The episode is, at the time of writing, available to stream on Spotify and Apple Podcast, despite both claiming to prohibit anti-LGBTQ+ hate on their platforms.

Spotify and Apple were given repeated opportunities by PinkNews to confirm if calls for an eradication of “transgenderism” were permitted under their policies, and if they would be removing the episode in question. Spotify declined to comment; Apple did not provide a response.

US watchdog Media Matters for America called out Spotify, Apple, and other platforms including YouTube and Google Podcasts for disseminating hate speech.

“Spotify, Apple, YouTube and other platforms that distribute Daily Wire’s shows have a unique opportunity to stop distributing the anti-trans hate, as they all have policies that seemingly prohibit hate speech related to gender and sexual orientation,” Kayla Gogarty, Media Matters’ deputy research director, told PinkNews.

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“Rather than protecting the safety of their users, these platforms are failing to enforce these policies and are distributing harmful rhetoric from the Daily Wire and other right-wing media.”

Gogarty noted that the LGBTQ+ community, particularly trans people, have been “targeted by a barrage of real-world attacks and harmful legislation” which partially stems from “right-wing media’s months-long campaign of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric”.

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Apple and Google allow Daily Wire to spread anti-LGBTQ+ hate

Media Matters has produced a damning report highlighting how The Daily Wire regularly voices  “bigotry against LGBTQ people”, both in podcasts and in articles on its DailyWire+ app, available on both Apple and Google’s app stores.

The watchdog said this includes Ben Shapiro continuing to attack same-sex marriage, Matt Walsh saying he’d “rather be dead” than have a trans child, Candace Owens claiming the “trans agenda is demonic”, and various podcast episodes sporting anti-LGBTQ slurs in their titles.

It noted how, in 2018, Apple removed conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars from its platform for violating its terms of service, and other tech companies soon did the same.

The Daily Wire host Matt Walsh wears a black shirt and brown jacket as he states that he would "rather be dead" than have a trans child on his show
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh said he would “rather be dead” than have a trans child. (The Daily Wire/The Matt Walsh Show)

Media Matters said this “severely limited the reach of Jones’ harmful rhetoric”. 

“In spite of this precedent, and repeated violations of Apple and Google terms of service, Daily Wire podcasts remain accessible through the Apple App Store, Apple TV, Google Play, and through Google TV via Chromecast,” it added.

Spotify’s platform rules explicitly prohibit content that “incites violence or hatred towards a group of people” based on their gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation or other “characteristics associated with systemic discrimination or marginalisation”. 

Apple Podcasts states that it doesn’t allow “harmful or objectionable content” in its content guidelines, including “defamatory, discriminatory or mean-spirited content” about sexual orientation, gender or “other targeted groups, particularly if the content is likely to humiliate, intimidate, harass or harm individuals or groups”. 

Similarly, Google Play’s terms of service doesn’t allow “apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, caste, immigration status, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalisation”.

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Despite this, Daily Wire content continues to be available on all three platforms.

Knowles repeated his anti-trans rhetoric in a bigoted tirade at one of the most high-profile right-wing conferences, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in the US. 

Daily Wire host Michael Knowles, who has a show and podcast, stands at a podium as he attacks the trans community during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Daily Wire host Michael Knowles called for “transgenderism” to be “eradicated” from “public life entirely” for the “good of society”. (Twitter/Right Wing Watch)

Knowles illogically claimed in follow-up tweets and responses to headlines that his speech wasn’t a call to liquidate trans people. Instead, he split hairs by saying he wished to eliminate the ‘ideology’ of being trans while conveniently refusing to state what would happen to trans folk should this come to pass.  

After his CPAC speech, Knowles clarified on his podcast that “eliminating transgenderism from public life” would mean “behaving as American society did” before 2015. 

Why 2015? Well, Knowles claimed mass acceptance of “transgenderism” didn’t begin until president Barack Obama instituted open trans military service and people lambasted North Carolina’s governor for signing an anti-trans bathroom ban into law

Knowles’ logic flies in the face of the fact that trans people have existed for millenia, and trans people from cultures across the world have found ways to thrive and be accepted pre-2015. 

Knowles said there “can’t be a genocide” of trans people because “transgender people is not a real ontological category” and claimed it’s “not a legitimate category of being”. 

Before that, Knowles attacked non-binary artist Sam Smith’s Grammy performance and claimed depictions of “demonic figures” are “always trans” because the “Devil hates humanity”. 

He compared same-sex couples trying to expand their families by using egg donors and surrogates to “going to a slave market”. Knowles also said parents should have their children taken away from them if they bring them to drag events, which he said was “sexually abusing” their kids. 

It’s far from the first time that Spotify has been criticised for failing to remove hatred towards the LGBTQ+ community. 

Media Matters highlighted how Spotify has repeatedly refused to take action against The Joe Rogan Experience, which it said is “rife with COVID-19 misinformation, hateful smears against trans people, and dangerous conspiracy theories”, as well as racism.

PinkNews has contacted Google for comment.

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