The highly anticipated premiere of Meghan Markle’s “Archetypes” podcast knocked out controversial host Joe Rogan Thursday as the top podcaster on Spotify.
Markle’s program soared to the No. 1 spot on Spotify’s U.S. charts just two days after its debut featuring a sit-down with tennis star Serena Williams, a good friend of the duchess of Sussex.
Markle has described “Archetypes” as an interview series to “dissect, explore and subvert the labels that try to hold women back.”
Its premiere flew past HBO’s companion podcast “The Official Game of Thrones Podcast: House of the Dragon” and “Girls Next Level,” hosted by “The Girls Next Door” stars Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt talking about their time in the Playboy Mansion.
Rogan’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” has been off and on the top podcast slot for the last three years.
Early this year, more than 1,000 health and science professionals signed an open letter to Spotify, demanding the streaming platform curtail false COVID-19 claims made by Joe Rogan in his hugely popular podcast.
The January petition slammed “The Joe Rogan Experience” host for his history of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines and unproven treatments, calling them “a sociological issue of devastating proportions.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread misleading and false claims on his podcast, provoking distrust in science and medicine,” the letter says.
The podcast, with an estimated 11 million listeners for each episode, had been Spotify’s most popular program, according to the streaming service. The average listener’s age is 24.
The service has not publicly responded to the petition.
Legendary Canadian musicians Joni Mitchell and Neil Young pulled their music from Spotify over the controversy.
In February, Rogan publicly apologized for repeatedly using the N-word during podcast episodes. He called it “the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.”
Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, had also complained about Rogan’s false COVID-19 claims, including that young people did not need to be vaccinated against the virus, which has killed millions around the world.
Markle’s maiden podcast also topped Spotify’s charts in Australia, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain.
The premiere revealed that during the royal couple’s visit to 2019 visit to South Africa, a fire broke out in the nursery where their baby, Archie, was staying.
Talking about motherhood with Williams, Markle said, “When we went on our tour to South Africa, we landed with Archie,” Meghan, 41, began. “Archie was what, four and a half months old? And the moment we landed, we had to drop him off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in.”
While the couple were attending state functions, the nursery caught fire, she said. Luckily, Archie and his nanny were not in the room at the time.
“She was supposed to put Archie down for his nap, and she just said, ‘You know what? Let me just go get a snack downstairs.’ And she was from Zimbabwe, and we loved that she would always tie him on her, her back with a mud cloth, and her instinct was like, ‘Let me just bring him with me before I put him down,”’ Markle recounted.
“In that amount of time that she went downstairs, the heater in the nursery caught on fire. There was no smoke detector. Someone happened to just smell smoke down the hallway, went in, fire extinguished,” Meghan said. The nanny, she said, was distraught when they returned.
Everyone was “in tears,” Markle said, but they had to continue their official visit and speaking engagements. The family was moved into new quarters.
She also spoke of the backlash she received for being an “ambitious” woman, discussing with Williams how society sets different standards for men and women when it comes to chasing one’s dreams.
It was not something she felt until she started dating Prince Harry, Markle said.
“Apparently ambition is a terrible, terrible thing for a woman, that is according to some. So, since I’ve felt the negativity behind it, it’s really hard to unfeel it. I can’t unsee it, either, in the millions of girls and women who make themselves smaller, so much smaller, on a regular basis,” she said.
“Often women are definitely put in these different boxes when we are ambitious, or when we do have goals, or when we reach our goals. It’s a negative connotation on how we reach the goals,” said the 40-year-old professional tennis player.
That applies even to “little girls in a school room,” Markle said, noting that a young girl who “is ambitious or raises her hand more, “is likely to be seen as “bossy.” To that, Williams again agreed.