Controversy continues to swirl around Joe Rogan’s podcast, and it appears that the public relations firestorm is getting so hot that the host himself has decided to pull some episodes from Spotify and address concerns directly.
First, there was the backlash sparked when singer/songwriter Neil Young decided to have his music removed from Spotify rather than have it on the same platform with Rogan. Young claimed it was Rogan’s use of his show to give airtime to dangerous disinformation about COVID-19 and vaccination that drove him to demand his music be removed. Other artists and podcasters have followed suit, though Rogan earned a reported $100 million check from Spotify for the rights to his show, so most experts don’t think there’s any chance the podcast will be scrubbed completely.
If the hubbub over Rogan’s propensity to give oxygen to conspiracy theories wasn’t enough of a headache for him and his show’s producers, then singer India Arie posted a superclip of several instances from past podcast episodes in which Rogan used the N-word, and calls for Rogan to be further sanctioned by Spotify grew. In response, Spotify’s CEO issued a statement indicating that Rogan had used racial epithets that were wrong and inappropriate, but stopped short of saying there would be any action taken by Spotify.
Instead, Rogan decided to pull dozens of episodes down, assumedly because they might contain the offensive term.
Perhaps sensing that it wasn’t enough to pull down the episodes, Rogan has made more than one attempt in the last day or two at damage control. He issued a lengthy apology and condemned his use of the word in the past on his social media accounts. Then, this morning, Rogan appeared on Fox News to take another stab at cleaning up the mess he’d made.
“I am incredibly sorry for saying that word. I’ve always believed in free speech, and so on my show there’s always been an understanding that anything goes. It’s a free for all. Still, in hindsight of course I wouldn’t have used that word on the podcast, if I had it to do all over again,” Rogan explained.
“I mean, it’s just not worth it when you don’t even mean it half the time you use it, you know? What a waste. I realize now that word really should be reserved for the times that you really, really feel it, and not just in casual conversations. But one thing I’ve always taken pride in is learning my lesson. So from now on, I will not half-assedly use racial slurs. Either I’ll mean them when I use them, or I’ll just keep them in my head like Tucker told me to do, which was great advice by the way.”
Glenn Greenwald heralded Rogan’s appearance as “the best journalism ever to be journalism’d in the history of journalism,” and he reminded everyone he, a white, middle-aged lawyer, rescued a man from a life of sex work and made him a politician, which in turn made Glennnnn impervious to criticism.
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Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.