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Joe Rogan posted a nearly 10-minute video on Instagram on Sunday night in which he addressed the controversy surrounding his Spotify podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, and promised to “do my best in the future to balance things out.”
The backlash reached a fever pitch last week, when Neil Young said he would remove his music from Spotify due to COVID-19 misinformation on Rogan’s podcast. Joni Mitchell and Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren followed suit in solidarity with Young. The moves resulted in Spotify on Sunday announcing updated platform rules and a new approach to dealing with COVID-19 information that includes adding a content advisory to podcast episodes that contain discussions about the virus.
Rogan, who said he agrees with Spotify’s decision to add a disclaimer, added he wanted to post his video “because there’s a lot of people that have a distorted perception of what I do maybe based on soundbites or based on headlines of articles that are disparaging.”
Rogan attributed the controversy to two episodes in particular that featured interviews with known vaccine skeptics Dr. Robert Malone and Dr. Peter McCullough, who promoted controversial theories. Rogan said he wanted to talk to those two men — whom he called “very highly credentialed, very intelligent, very accomplished” — because they have opinions “that differ from the mainstream narrative. I wanted to hear what their opinion is. I had them on and because of that, those episodes were labeled as dangerous” and featured misinformation.
But he added that he has a problem with the term “misinformation” because “many of the things we thought of as misinformation a short while ago is now thought of as fact,” citing specifically claims about the ineffectiveness of vaccines against contracting the virus and the ineffectiveness of cloth masks, both statements that earlier in the pandemic might have gotten one “removed from social media.”
“If there’s anything that I’ve done that I could do better, it’s having more experts with differing opinions right after I have the controversial ones,” Rogan said. “I would most certainly be open to doing that. And I would like to talk to some people who have differing opinions on the podcasts in the future. I do all the scheduling myself, and I don’t always get it right.”
Rogan said he’s a fan of both Young and Mitchell and isn’t “mad” at the former for starting the wave of artists pulling their music.
“I’m very sorry they feel that way. I most certainly don’t want that. I’m a Neil Young fan,” he said, noting that he once worked as a security guard at a Young concert.
He reiterated a couple times his promise to have more opinions on his show and to research the topics more closely and “have the pertinent fact at hand.” He said he’s never tried to be controversial and expressed amazement at how a podcast of “me talking to some friends” grew into “some out-of-control juggernaut that I barely have control of.”
He pledged 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,” on all topics, and not just COVID-19, he said.
“My point was to create interesting conversations, and ones people enjoy,” he said. “If I’ve pissed you off, I’m sorry. And if you enjoy the podcast, thank you.”
He also thanked Spotify for being supportive amid the controversy as well as the haters, who, he said, spur people to “reassess what you’re doing and put things into perspective, and I think that’s good too.”
Watch the full video below.
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