Music streaming platform Spotify has recently been criticized on social media because it hosted and promoted a podcast by Sam Hyde. Hyde is a far-right comedian and known sympathizer and has been known to donate to neo-Nazi causes. The popular online music platform highlighted a podcast by Sam Hyde in what seemed to be algorithm-driven personalized recommendations for a user.
Hyde has supported different types of extreme behaviors
Hyde has a long and well-known record of giving voice and support to all kinds of conspiracy theorists and white supremacists. In 2016, his television show, Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace, was canceled after airing for four months. It aired for one season on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and was canceled because some of the content often bordered on offensive. The show proved to be quite popular with the alt-right and neo-Nazi online communities. He has been captured in pictures giving the Nazi salute and in 2017. Hyde also donated $5,000
to cover legal fees for Andrew Anglin after he was sued for harassing a Jewish woman in Montana. That same year, Hyde came under scrutiny again for making jokes about the murder of Heather Heyer, who was killed by a right-wing demonstrator at a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Spotify promoted Hyde’s podcast
The most recent controversy around Hyde concern’s his podcast called “HydeWars,” which first aired in 2019 but seems to now be inactive. The podcast was recommended by Spotify’s algorithm to Andy Stepanian, who runs the Sparrow Project, which is a nonprofit newswire. Stepanian called attention to it on Twitter, referring to Spotify recommending the podcast among things ‘we think you’ll get hooked on’.
It is unclear how many other people have had Hyde’s podcast recommended to them, and Stepanian rightly pointed out that Spotify is greatly expanding Hyde’s market reach. He went on to comment that Spotify should be careful to take a look at Hyde’s track record -both
on and offline- of racist, anti-immigration, and anti-Semitic opinions and consider if the company wants to be associated with that sort of rhetoric.
Stepanian’s posts on Twitter were well received and were liked and retweeted hundreds of times on social media.
Stepanian was more the only one who called attention to the issue. Integrity First for America, a liberal group that carries out legal campaigns against neo-Nazi groups, also criticized Spotify for promoting Hyde’s podcast. The site called out Spotify for giving a platform to Hyde, who has
boasted about supporting neo-Nazi and far-right groups.