How Spotify Is Pushing To Abolish Police and Prisons

Spotify's Abolition X podcast pushes far-left policies, labels America 'white supremacist' state

(Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
April 11, 2022

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."

When it comes to Abolition X, however, Spotify seems to have no problem endorsing far-left policies that are extremely unpopular with both the American people as a whole and black Americans specifically. Just 28 percent of black Americans support the movement to defund police, a 2021 USA Today poll found. Three out of four Americans, meanwhile, say the movement to defund police "is a reason that violent crime is increasing in the United States."

Spotify's Abolition X isn't just out of touch with the American public—the policies it promotes could lead to disastrous consequences. According to a 2021 Manhattan Institute report, liberal "crime reduction" programs in Chicago did little to reduce gun and gang homicides. In Pittsburgh, violence actually went up after a similar program was introduced. High police presences in neighborhoods, on the other hand, are proven to reduce crime.

Spotify did not return a request for comment.

Conversations on gender and mental health aside, Abolition X's bread and butter consists of discussions centered on dismantling America's police and prisons. In Cullors's Feb. 15 episode, the hosts open the show by explicitly calling to "replace police and prisons" with "mental health care." Reseda later argues that "people who break the law" do not have a "moral problem" that requires criminal justice. Instead, the host says, people commit crimes solely due to "a health problem they're having" that requires treatment. Mensa goes on to contend that those mental health issues exist as a byproduct of America's status as an "uber-capitalist, white supremacist, violent-ass state."

Cullors's musings on the podcast include similar denunciations of capitalism. At one point, the BLM cofounder argues that in a "capitalist world," the "self doesn't exist for black women," because they "are at service to everybody." Less than a year before she joined the podcast, Cullors purchased four high-end U.S. homes for $3.2 million. Mere weeks after the episode's release, meanwhile, New York magazine revealed that, under Cullors's leadership, the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation purchased a $6 million Southern California mansion in cash using funds donated to the group. Cullors later resigned from her role as executive director of the foundation in order to focus on a multiyear television deal with Warner Bros.