Joe Rogan Causes a Spotify Uproar

Graphic by: Mariana Riano

Graphic by: Mariana Riano

Joshua Lasarte, Enterprise Editor

   In September of 2020, podcaster Joe Rogan, host of the Joe Rogan Experience, signed a $200 million deal with Spotify to give the app exclusive rights over his podcast. Joe Rogan is a UFC commentator, stand up comedian, and former host of the Fear Factor show. Rogan’s podcast is undoubtedly the most popular podcast in the world, averaging 11 million listeners every episode. He has recently come under fire for his views on COVID-19, being anti-vax, and saying the N-word on his podcast years ago. 

   On multiple podcast episodes, Rogan has discussed his anti-vax views and brings in doctors who agree with him. He does start every episode with a disclaimer that he is not an expert and that this is just his opinion, but that hasn’t helped with the mob against him. People were mad that Rogan is able to spew “misinformation” to millions of people about the vaccine and they wanted his podcast taken down. Senior Owen Galvin said, “Even though Rogan has said some questionable stuff it is freedom of speech and if you don’t like what he has to say then stop talking about him and ignore him because you are just giving him more attention.” Singer Neil Young offered a proposition to Spotify, either take down the podcast, or remove all of Young’s music. Spotify quickly sided with Rogan and took Neil Young’s music library off the service. 

   Since the Young incident, other artists with their work on Spotify have come forward against Rogan asking Spotify to remove him. Senior Leo Graham said, “I think Joe Rogan deserves a level of public ostracisation for his choice of guests due to him being a public figure.” Rogan has since apologized and taken responsibility for the things he has said and has promised to bring on people with different viewpoints so he can open the discussion on different opinions. Rogan told people at his stand up show that if you don’t like his views or advice, simply just don’t listen. 

   This whole event opened a major discussion on the scrutinization of free speech with many believing he is being “canceled” because he is speaking against the government. His words made such an impact that they were referenced by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and the Biden administration urged Spotify to remove Rogan. Many have labeled Rogan as a right wing conspiracy theorist despite the fact that he has openly admitted to being a supporter of Bernie Sanders and had Democrat Tulsi Gabbard on his podcast. 

   While it seemed that Rogan was out of hot water, the cancel culture mob was able to dig up 14 year old clips of the podcaster using the n-word. Rogan has spoken out about it saying he was appalled by it and felt ashamed by it and he thought it was racist. This outraged a lot of people but lots of people defended him including UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. He has apologized and tried to make light about his situation but there is no end in sight for all of his controversies.