Joe Rogan addresses Spotify podcast controversy: ‘I’m not trying to promote misinformation’

American Age Official
PASADENA, CA - APRIL 17: Comedian Joe Rogan performs during his appearance at The Ice House Comedy Club on April 17, 2019 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images)

Joe Rogan addresses his Spotify podcast controversy. (Photo: Michael S. Schwartz/Getty Images)

Joe Rogan is addressing the controversy around his Spotify podcast.

In the wake of Neil Young and other musicians pulling their music from the streaming service due to COVID-19 vaccine misinformation spread on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the host broke his silence on social media on Sunday. Rogan defended himself, insisting he’s “not trying to promote misinformation,” but did say he will “try harder” going forward to balance “more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives.”

“I’m not trying to promote misinformation,” Rogan, 54, said in the nearly 10-minute video shared to social media. “I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people and have interesting conversations.”

He asked, “Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. But I try to correct them. Whenever I get something wrong, I try to correct it because I’m interested in telling the truth.”

Rogan said he didn’t know “what else I can do differently other than maybe try harder to get people with differing opinions on right afterwards. I do think that’s important and do my best to make sure that I’ve researched these topics — the controversial ones in particular — and have all the pertinent facts at hand before I discuss them.”

He pledged to “do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives, so we can maybe find a better point of view. I don’t want to just show the contrary opinion to what the narrative is. I want to show all kinds of opinions so that we can all figure what’s going on.”

That said, Rogan feels “a lot of people that have a distorted perception of what I do, maybe based on sound bites or based on headlines of articles that are disparaging.” He went on to defend his decision to have vaccine skeptics Dr. Robert Malone and Dr. Peter McCullough on the podcast, saying they are “very highly credentialed” but “have an opinion that’s different from the mainstream narrative.”

Though, he admitted, “I do all the scheduling [of guests] myself” and “I don’t always get it right.

As for Young removing his music from Spotify because of Rogan’s podcast, the host said he’s not mad at the music great. He called himself “a huge Neil Young fan” and talked at length about how he once worked as a security guard, at age 19, at one of Young’s concerts.

“No hard feelings towards Neil Young and definitely no hard feelings towards Joni Mitchell,” who followed suit. “I love her too. I love her music.”

The video made by Rogan — who inked a $100 million deal for his podcast in 2020 — has been viewed more than 3.5 million times. Among the commenters was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who applauded the message and said he’d like to be a guest.

“Great stuff here, brother,” Johnson wrote. “Perfectly articulated. Look forward to coming on one day and breaking out the tequila with you.”

(Screenshot: Joe Rogan via Instagram)(Screenshot: Joe Rogan via Instagram)

(Screenshot: Joe Rogan via Instagram)

The same day as Rogan’s post, Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek said in statement that while there are “plenty of individuals and views on Spotify that I disagree with strongly,” it’s “important to me that we don’t take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them.” To that end, the company plans to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19.

Also on that day, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who signed their own big deal to produce and host podcasts for Spotify, said they will continue working with the company.

Rogan is often in the headlines for his interviews, but the current controversy started with a Dec. 31 open letter to Spotify from more than 260 doctors, nurses and scientists calling for the company to implement a misinformation policy. The letter came after Malone was a guest on the podcast.

Last week, Young announced plans to remove his music from Spotify, saying it had “recently become a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about COVID.”

Joni Mitchell followed him — and others have since done the same. 

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