The widow of Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill — who died in Feb. 2020 following a bout with pneumonia that was posthumously suspected to be Covid-19 — penned an open letter to Spotify slamming the streaming service for ostensibly choosing Joe Rogan’s vaccine misinformation over Neil Young’s music.
“If my beloved husband, Andy Gill, hadn’t died at the start of the pandemic, he’d have strong and clear feelings about your decision to remove Neil Young’s music in favor of a podcast that has spread anti-vax misinformation,” Catherine Mayer wrote in the letter posted on social media. “If vaccines had been available at the start of the pandemic, he’d be here to have that conversation with you. Instead, I must speak for him. And I have to tell you, as his widow, I feel sick about the business decision you’ve made.”
— Catherine Mayer (@catherine_mayer) January 27, 2022
Gill died in a London hospital on Feb. 1, 2020, from multiple organ failure following a lengthy battle with pneumonia that Mayer believes was actually coronavirus; Gill became sick soon after Gang of Four’s tour of Asia, including China, in Nov. 2019. (The first reported case of Covid-19 was on Nov. 19, 2019.)
On Wednesday, Young officially began pulling his music off of Spotify, which he called — thanks to Rogan’s podcast — “a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about Covid.” He thanked his label Warner Records for standing by his decision and noted that a majority of his streaming revenue comes from Spotify.
(Gang of Four’s entire catalog is available to stream on Apple Music and not Spotify, but that predates the latter streaming service’s rift with Young; in a recent interview with the Guardian, Mayer said she had gone through a legal battle over the band’s back catalog.)
“Since [Gill] died, I’ve worked to ensure his music is available to fans… and trying to get the full back catalog available on all channels. That means yours,” Mayer continued in her letter. “Anti-vax misinformation kills people. Grief afflicts many of us right now. I ask you now: Help to contain the spread of grief by protecting the public and rethinking your decisions.”