Joe Rogan responds to Spotify backlash over COVID episodes

Joe Rogan responds to Spotify backlash over COVID episodes

Joe Rogan has apologized and pledged more balance on his controversial podcast after a rush of rock legends quit Spotify and accused him of spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

“If I p—ed you off, I’m sorry,” the outspoken UFC commentator said in a nearly 10-minute video on Instagram late Sunday.

“I’m not trying to promote misinformation. I’m not trying to be controversial,” he insisted of his record-breaking podcast that feels like “some out of control juggernaut that I barely have control of.”

“I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people and have interesting conversations,” he said of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which “started off is just f–king around with my friends.”

The podcaster addressed the protest over his work that started with “Rockin’ in the Free World” singer Young quitting Spotify, followed by Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren.

“I’m very sorry that they feel that way. I most certainly don’t want that. I’m a Neil Young fan. I’ve always been a Neil Young fan,” he said.

Neil Young performs at the BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival at Napa Valley Expo in Napa, Calif
Spotify said that it will add content advisories before podcasts discussing COVID-19.
Amy Harris/Invision/AP

“And definitely no hard feelings towards Joni Mitchell. I love her too,” he said, praising “Chuck E’s In Love,” realizing later that it was actually by Rickie Lee Jones, whose name he misspelled in his caption.

Rogan addressed an announcement hours earlier by Spotify CEO Daniel Elk that future COVID podcasts on the service would carry content advisories.

“Sure, have that on there. I’m very happy with that,” Rogan said, calling it “very important.”

Still, he justified talking to the two guests that have led to his podcast being accused of “spreading dangerous misinformation,” noting they were “very highly credentialed, very intelligent, very accomplished people.”

“The problem I have with the term misinformation, especially today, is that many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact,” he said.

“Eight months ago, if you said if you get vaccinated you can still catch COVID and you can still spread COVID — you will be removed from social media … Now, that’s accepted as fact,” he said.

“If you said ‘I don’t think cloth masks work’ you would be banned from social media. Now that’s openly and repeatedly stated on CNN.

“If you said, ‘I think it’s possible that COVID-19 came from a lab,’ you’d be banned from many social media platforms. Now that’s on the cover of Newsweek,” he said.

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell said she would remove all of her music in Spotify in solidarity with Neil Young.
John Shearer/Invision/AP

Rogan noted that he spoke also to many who have “a different opinion than those men do,” including CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board.

“Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. I get things wrong, but I try to correct them,” he insisted.

“I think if there’s anything that I’ve done, that I could do better is have more experts with differing opinions right after I have the controversial ones. I would most certainly be open to doing that,” he said, calling it a “pledge” to his viewers.

Rogan said it was not the first time he’d had to put out fires for Young — saying his last job as a 19-year-old concert security guard had been a show by the Canadian rocker where fans went so wild they started “raging fires on the lawn” which he was supposed to help put out.

Joe Rogan
Joe Rogan has apologized and pledged more balance on his podcast.
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

“I was not about to get beat up for 15 bucks an hour,” he recalled, saying that he drove home singing Young’s now-ironic classic tune “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

“So no hard feelings towards Neil Young,” he repeated, while also thanking Spotify for sticking by him despite “taking so much heat.”

Rogan was reportedly paid more than $100 million by Spotify for exclusive rights to his record-breaking podcast.

“It’s a strange responsibility to have this many viewers and listeners. It’s very strange and it’s nothing that I prepare for, and it’s nothing that I ever anticipated,” he said, thanking the “haters” for making him “reassess” his work.

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