Joe Rogan defends podcast and apologizes to Spotify for backlash

Joe Rogan has responded to the ongoing controversy with artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell having their music removed from Spotify for not wanting to share a platform with his popular podcast. The Joe Rogan Experience. In a nearly ten-minute video uploaded to Instagram, Rogan defends his decision to book controversial guests, apologizes to Spotify for the backlash and talks about how the podcast could change in the future.

“These podcasts are really weird because they’re just conversations,” Rogan says. “And often I have no idea what I’m going to talk about until I sit down and talk to people. And that’s why some of my ideas aren’t that prepared or fleshed out because I literally have them in real time, but I’m doing my best and it’s just conversations, and I think that’s the appeal of the show too. It’s one of the things that makes it interesting. So I want to thank Spotify for their support during this time, and I’m really sorry this is happening to them and they are learning so much from it.”

Rogan names two podcast guests that have centered much of the controversy, Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone. Both guests have made multiple unsubstantiated claims regarding the COVID-19 pandemic on The Joe Rogan Experience, according to fact-checking organization Science Feedback. Rogan says of the guests that they are “high quality, very intelligent, very talented people, and they have opinions that differ from the mainstream. I wanted to hear what their opinion is.”

Despite the widespread debunking of many of the guest statements, Rogan disagrees that those episodes are labeled as “misinformation.” He argues that guests’ views on certain topics, such as the effectiveness of cloth masks, the origins of the virus, or whether vaccinated people can contract and spread COVID-19, would once have “removed you from social media,” but then have become a widely accepted discourse. He does not address their other claims.

“I don’t know if they’re right,” he continues. ‘I don’t know, because I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. I’m just someone who sits down and talks to people and has conversations with them. Am I misunderstanding things? Absolute. I see things wrong, but I try to correct them when I do something wrong. I’m trying to correct it because I’m interested in telling the truth. I’m interested in finding out what the truth is, and I’m interested in having interesting conversations with people who have different opinions. I’m not interested in just talking to people who have one perspective.”

While he has no regrets about booking guests with disputed opinions, Rogan says he is open to ways the podcast can be improved. He says he agrees with Spotify’s plan to label episodes of COVID-19 discussion with content advisories and disclaimers. He also says he wants “more experts with different opinions right after the controversial one”.

“I’ll do my best to try and balance these more controversial points of view with other people’s perspectives so that maybe we can find a better point of view,” he says. “I don’t just want to show the opposing view to what the story is. I want to show all kinds of opinions so we can all figure out what’s going on and not just about COVID, about everything, about health, about fitness, well-being, the state of the world itself.”

Spotify reportedly struck a nine-figure deal with Rogan in 2020 for the rights to host his show exclusively. In documents seen by The edgethe company ruled that several controversial Joe Rogan Experience episodes “Failed to Meet Threshold for Removal.” Last year The edge reported that Spotify reviewed an episode advising 21-year-olds not to get vaccinated and that it fell within the company’s content guidelines.

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