By: Lauren Dominguez — A&E Editor
Joe Rogan, famous podcaster and comedian is currently under fire for the Spread of Covid Misinformation as well as allegations of racism. In May of 2020, Rogan signed a 100 million deal with Spotify for the rights of his content, an expensive and now controversial decison.
The company has now deleted over 113 episodes of Rogan’s particularly controversial podcasts as musicians protest the service for allowing him to remain on the platform and promote falsehoods about Covid -19 as well as his usage of racial slurs.
A segment of the show currently receiving heat is from the episode where Rogan invites Dr. Robert Malone, a virologist who deems himself a pioneer of “the architects of mRNA technology”.
Malone, who has previously been banned from Twitter for Covid Misinformation claimed various beliefs regarding the legitimacy of the virus on his episode and that “mass formation psychosis” is what’s responsible for people believing in vaccines.
When society “becomes decoupled from each other and has a free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don’t make sense. … Then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point, just like hypnosis.”
Malone is not the only physician and scholar who has spoken out against the vaccine as Dr. Peter McCullough claimed that the COVID-19 vaccine is “experimental” and that the pandemic was “planned” on one of Rogans episodes
In a separate episode, Rogan has actively discouraged young people from getting the vaccine. “If you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go no.’” he said in a conversation with comedian Dave Smith.
By far Rogans, most controversial claim is his promotion of taking ivermectin to treat Covid-19 symptoms, despite its limited evidence of treatment.
“This doctor was saying ivermectin is 99 percent effective in treating Covid, but you don’t hear about it because you can’t fund vaccines when it’s an effective treatment,” he said.
It’s important to note that ivermectin is said to lead to uncontrolled vomiting and dizziness, something not mentioned in his conversation.
Katrine Wallace, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health, named Rogan “a menace to public health” for continuously platforming anti-vaccine ideology to his large audience.
“These are fringe ideas not backed in science, and having it on a huge platform makes it seem there are two sides to this issue. And there are really not. The overwhelming evidence is the vaccine works, and it is safe.” said Wallace.
Arguably the most well-known musician amidst the protests who have pulled their music from Spotify is Neil Young.
He wants his music removed because the platform is “spreading fake information about vaccines — potentially causing death to those who believe this disinformation spread by them.”
“They can have Rogan or Young. Not both,” the musician said.
Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell has joined Young and said over the weekend that she, too, will remove her music from Spotify.
“Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue,” said Mitchell
David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash also backed Young, their former bandmate, by writing that there is dangerous disinformation being aired on Rogan’s podcast.
The band wrote in a Twitter statement that “While we always value alternate points of view, knowingly spreading disinformation during this global pandemic has deadly consequences.”
The three added that they don’t want their music and his podcasts to be on the same platform “until real action is taken to show that a concern for humanity must be balanced with commerce.”
The misinformation claims are also coupled with a resurface of racial slurs being used on Rogan’s platform. A video compilation posted by musician India Arie shows Rogan repeatedly using the n-word as well as telling racist stories. The worst of which is him calling a movie theater in a predominantly black neighborhood “planet of the apes.”
Rogan has recently issued an apology over the videos and said that there is never a context where a white person would ever be allowed to say the n-word.
“I agree with that now I was just trying to be entertaining I certainly wasn’t trying to be racist and I certainly would never want to offend someone for entertainment with something as stupid as racism.”
He claims that it makes him sick to rewatch his old videos but “hopefully at least some of you will accept this and understand where [he’s] coming from.”