— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) January 31, 2022
I wrote about the controversy, I watched Rogan’s remarks, and I want to apologize.
Last week, I took sides with Neil Young. I asked artists to boycott Spotify. I was pretty upset with Rogan.
And I am still not happy with him having folks like Robert Malone on his podcast. But I also don’t live under a rock. I saw your angry comments—and it made me think.
This morning, I read a mindful article on Elephant Journal that made me question my stance even more.
And then, I decided to watch Rogan’s statements released on his Instagram account. It’s a short clip of him talking about his perspective.
I still think that a podcaster who reaches millions of people holds a certain responsibility. Nothing changed about that.
To my surprise, Rogan apologized for the controversy. He agreed that certain episodes should be labelled as controversial. And he even pointed out that he still loves Neil Young.
He also thanked all the haters (I guess I am one of them) for criticizing him. Wow! I didn’t expect that.
Rogan has a point when he claims that he invites all kinds of guests to his show. Michael Osterholm, who is part of Joe Biden’s advisory board, was on the show. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is the leading medical expert on CNN, was on the show.
But it’s also true that several questionable folks had been on the show. Robert Malone and Jordan Peterson are two examples of that.
Maybe I got fooled by Rogan. Maybe he is just trying to find a way out of this controversy. Who knows?
I saw Canadian truckers wave confederate flags, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. compared vaccines to the holocaust (he paddled back a few days later), and Donald Trump expressed his support for insurrectionists.
Maybe Rogan is not the main problem right now?
Who knows, maybe Rogan can build a bridge between folks who disagree on certain topics? Maybe I am wrong. But one thing is for sure: the latest sh*tstorm didn’t make him less famous.
Rogan pledged to do better on balancing out controversial perspectives. He apologized to Spotify for this controversy. He wants to do better.
That’s something that I respect. I also want to do better.
Maybe I took things too far? Maybe Rogan doesn’t deserve to get canceled? Maybe he learned his lesson?
Freedom of speech is precious. I agree with Rogan on that. But there are limits to it.
Nobody should be able to cover up hate speech by labeling it as freedom of speech. Nobody should use freedom of speech as an excuse for racism. Nobody should be allowed to spread misinformation that puts lives at risk and call it freedom of speech.
And that’s the tricky part. Did Rogan actually do any of these things?
I would give him the benefit of the doubt that there is no hate speech on his podcast. I feel troubled by some of his statements on racism, but I don’t think he is a racist. I don’t agree with his scepticism on vaccines, but I didn’t hear him say that nobody should get vaccinated.
It’s a fine line—and he probably crossed it several times. But he is also just a podcaster. He is not the head of the CDC or the President of the United States. Rogan is a fitness influencer who loves martial arts.
If Rogan’s stance on vaccines becomes a topic of national interest, it tells us more about our society than about Rogan. Why is his opinion so important? Because folks like me gave him the attention.
Maybe that was my mistake. But I would do it again.
I don’t want to defend Rogan or any other influencers with questionable views, but I would like to move forward in a healthy way.
I won’t cancel my Spotify subscription, but I am in support of labeling certain content as controversial. I still listen to Young’s music, and I am thankful that he started this conversation. And I might even listen to episodes of “The Rogan Experience,” but without agreeing to everything said on the show.
Rogan did something. He got criticized. He apologized. Can we move on?
Just as Rogan thanked his haters, I want to thank him.
We can agree to disagree in a respectful way. Thanks for this reminder. I needed that.
Let’s have Neil Young on “The Rogan Experience” and talk about this.
What do you think?