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Joe Rogan responded publicly for the first time to the controversy driven by rocker Neil Young, who called for his songs to be removed from Spotify as a result of Rogan spreading alleged misinformation about COVID-19 on his popular podcast carried by the streaming service.
In breaking his silence in a nearly ten minute video posted on Instagram, Rogan may have broken a few hearts along the way because he essentially caved to censorship and apologized, pledging to “do my best to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.”
“It’s a strange responsibility to have this many viewers and listeners. It’s very strange, and it’s nothing I’ve prepared for and it’s nothing that I ever anticipated. I’m gonna do my best in the future to balance things out. I’m gonna do my best. But my point in doing this is always just to create interesting conversations and ones that I hope people enjoy,” Rogan said. “So if I pissed you off, I’m sorry, and if you enjoy the podcast, thank you.”
Rogan, who is not seen as a conservative, also extended an olive branch to Young: “Now, because of this controversy — and I’m sure there’s a lot of other things going on behind the scenes with these controversies — Neil Young has removed his music from the platform of Spotify. And Joni Mitchell, and apparently some other people want to as well.
“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, adding later, “So no hard feelings towards Neil Young. And definitely no hard feelings towards Joni Mitchell. I love her too, I love her music.”
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In addition to standing by his interviews with Dr. Peter McCullough, a cardiologist, and Dr. Robert Malone, an infectious disease specialist, which prompted the controversy, Rogan did say he has a problem with the term misinformation.
“Many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact. Like for instance, eight months ago if you said, ‘If you get vaccinated you can still catch COVID, and you can still spread COVID,’ you’d be removed from social media. They would ban you from certain platforms. Now, that’s accepted as fact.”
“If you said, ‘I don’t think cloth masks work,’ you would be banned from social media. Now, that’s openly stated and repeated on CNN,” Rogan continued. “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.”
The podcast host voiced his agreement with Spotify’s announced plans to put a disclaimer on COVID-19 related podcast episodes that deal with COVID-19.
“Sure, have that on there. I’m very happy with that,” he said, before thanking the streaming service for supporting him.
“So I want to thank Spotify for being so supporting during this time,” Rogan said. “And I’m very sorry this is happening to them, and they’re taking so much heat from it.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said in statement Sunday that “based on feedback,” the company has “an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time.”
In effect, Spotify also yielded to the censorship efforts seen on social media platforms and will start applying advisory labels to COVID-19 related content
“We are working to add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19. This advisory will direct listeners to our dedicated COVID-19 Hub, a resource that provides easy access to data-driven facts, up-to-date information as shared by scientists, physicians, academics and public health authorities around the world, as well as links to trusted sources. This new effort to combat misinformation will roll out to countries around the world in the coming days,” the release said.
The CEO went on to talk about launching “a variety of educational resources and campaigns to raise awareness and we developed and promoted a global COVID-19 Information Hub,” saying Spotify “donated ad inventory to various organizations for vaccine awareness, funds to the World Health Organization and COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) to increase vaccine equity and supported the Go Give One fundraising campaign.”
Here’s a few responses from those who disagree with Rogan’s stance here, feeling let down that he went to far in “pandering to an angry mob.”
So by more balanced you mean less balanced https://t.co/UZ3H99cN94
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) January 31, 2022
This is pandering to an angry mob and it's a mistake that will never work. They want your blood, Joe, because you exist wrong to them. https://t.co/Pq2rmBzxPi
— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) January 31, 2022
— Jim Hanson (@JimHansonDC) January 31, 2022
— Adam Baldwin (@AdamBaldwin) January 31, 2022
Rogan concedes too much here; he’s effectively accepting the supposition there’s a problem with his show.
The only way to respond to the heckler mafia is by telling them to eff on press on twice as hard. Once they realize it’s hopeless, they’ll move onto their next target. https://t.co/P9QNt9RQYJ
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 31, 2022
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