Contentious podcast host Joe Rogan has addressed the recent controversy regarding his Spotify podcast. Rogan’s statement comes only hours after the streaming service released details of a plan to tackle disinformation regarding Covid-19.
Rogan posted a ten-minute video to his Instagram page on Sunday, January 31st, and took the opportunity to explain himself in greater detail. The UFC commentator promised to “try harder to get people with differing opinions on” and “do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics”.
“A lot of people … have a distorted perception of what I do,” he said.
Rogan then attempted to defend two recent episodes of his podcast, which featured guests who shared baseless Covid conspiracy theories. Not totally backing down, Rogan refused to criticise the guests, and labelled them “highly credentialed … people (with) an opinion that’s different from the mainstream narrative.”
Famously, Rogan started his podcast on YouTube before moving it over to Spotify in 2020 with a deal thought to be worth around $100 million, making it one of the most significant licensing agreements in the podcast market to date. “It’s become what it is today, which is some out of control juggernaut that I barely have control of,” he said elsewhere in the video. “Often times I have no idea what I’m gonna talk about until I sit down and talk to people.”
“I am gonna do my best in the future to balance things out,” he appended before apologising to the streaming giant. “I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time, and I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much from it.”
Rogan has been a lockdown sceptic for quite some time, and his promotion of the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin when he had the virus, although it hasn’t been proven to have any effect in dealing with the illness, has been regarded as a key example of his podcast promoting disinformation.
The latest episodes kicked off the newest frontline in the culture war, as Neil Young removed his music from the platform in protest at Rogan’s show. Showing support for the Canadian songwriter, Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren have also withdrawn their music.