by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A Spotify original podcast featuring Black Lives Matter cofounder and “trained Marxist” Patrisse Cullors calls for abolishing police and prisons, labels America a “white supremacist” state, and contends that the severely mentally ill are actually “shamans” and “spiritual guides.”
Spotify launched Abolition X, which “focuses on alternatives to police, jails, and punishment,” in February. And while the podcast is chock-full of anti-police and anti-prison rhetoric, it “isn’t just about getting rid of police and prisons,” Spotify said in a press release. Indeed, hosts Vic Mensa, Indigo Mateo, and Richie Reseda—and their guests—often wade into other topics.
One episode, for example, says gender is merely “an expression.” “Gender is, like, swag, you know?” says Reseda, a convicted felon who pleaded guilty to two armed robberies in 2011. “For real, gender is literally a way of expressing one’s self. Like, that’s really all it is.” Another episode on mental health featuring Cullors encourages listeners to microdose mushrooms, calls former president Ronald Reagan “Satan,” and even labels bipolar and schizophrenic people as “shamans” whom we “throw … away” because “they don’t serve capitalism.”
“I’m also a firm believer, especially with people who have severe mental illness, that many of those folks are, like, shamans, and are spiritual guides,” Cullors says. “And in this context of capitalism we throw them away. We don’t know what to do with them—they don’t serve capitalism.”
Spotify’s release of Abolition X came as the company navigated public scrutiny surrounding its exclusive deal to host The Joe Rogan Experience. After Rogan posted an episode featuring virologist Robert Malone that questioned Democratic policies on COVID-19, musicians asked Spotify to remove their music from the platform, prompting the company to delete thousands of podcast episodes for spreading virus “misinformation.”