Joe Rogan labels podcast controversy a “political hit job”
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  • Post published:11/02/2022
  • Post last modified:11/02/2022
(Credit: Joe Rogan)

Music

Joe Rogan labels podcast controversy a “political hit job”

@SamWKemp

    Joe Rogan has responded to the controversy surrounding his Spotify-affiliated podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan’s podcast and, by extension, Spotify, have both been accused of spreading Covid-19 vaccine misinformation. The likes of Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash and Nils Lofgren have all pulled their music from the streaming platform in protest. Young was the first to raise his voice against Spotify, arguing that the platform was spreading “false information about vaccines”.

    Young’s words came shortly after hundreds of scientists and medical professionals wrote a letter to Spotify, urging the platform to address the ubiquity of Covid-19 misinformation on The Joe Rogan Experience, describing the show and its host as “objectionable and offensive but also medically and culturally dangerous”. In response, Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek said that, rather than cutting ties with the podcast, it would be adding content advisories to podcast episodes that contained vaccine misinformation.

    Shortly after, Rogan addressed the boycott via his Instagram, admitting to his fans: “I don’t always get it right. I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.”

    However, he was quickly caught up in another furore, when songwriter India Arie shared a video of all the times the podcast host had used the N-word during recording. Spotify later removed no less than 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience. Again, Rogan apologised, sharing a video in which he called the incident: “The most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly”. However, he went on to add that there has “been a lot of shit from the old episodes of the podcast that I wish I hadn’t said,” going on to assert that the video was made up of clips “taken out of context”.

    Now, Rogan has addressed the controversy once again, both in person and on his podcast. On February 7th, he told his listeners that the backlash against his use of racial slurs was a “political hitjob”, adding that his detractors were “taking all the stuff I’ve ever said that’s wrong and smushing it all together”.

    Then, on February 8th, Rogan took to the stage for a stand-up set in which he discussed the video in length, arguing that even he thought the compilation was “racist as fuck” while watching it: “Even to me! I’m me and I’m watching it saying, ‘Stop saying it!’ Rogan told his audience in Austin, Texas. “I put my cursor over the video and I’m like, ‘Four more minutes?!’”.

    He went on to add: “I haven’t used that word in years. But it’s kind of weird people will get really mad if you use that word and tweet about it on a phone that’s made by slaves”.

    Rogan also defended his role in the Covid-19 misinformation controversy, saying: “If you’re taking vaccine advice from me, is that really my fault? What dumb shit were you about to do when my stupid idea sounded better? ‘You know that dude who made people eat animal dicks on TV? How does he feel about medicine?’ If you want my advice, don’t take my advice.”

    Meanwhile, Neil Young has asked Spotify employees to quit their jobs in protest, urging them to “Ditch the misinformers. Find a good clean place to support with your monthly checks. You have the real power. Use it.”

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