Joe Rogan has addressed accusations he is spreading Covid-19 misinformation, in a row that has led Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to pull their music from Spotify.
Podcast host Joe Rogan has addressed accusations he is spreading Covid-19 misinformation, in a row that has led Neil Young and Joni Mitchell to pull their music from Spotify. Rogan hosts The Joe Rogan Experience, the top podcast on Spotify. Spotify bought exclusive rights to the podcast in a deal believed to be worth $100million, and episodes regularly pull in over 10 million listeners.
The controversy has arisen out of interviews he did with doctors who shared false information about Covid-19 vaccines. Young has called for such misinformation to be removed from Spotify, saying: “Spotify has become the home of life-threatening Covid misinformation. Lies being sold for money.” He has pulled his music from the site in protest.
Mitchell said, in a message shared on her website, that she is standing “in solidarity” with Young. She added Spotify was allowing “irresponsible people” to spread lies that were “costing people their lives”.
What did Joe Rogan do?
Last year Rogan aired an episode of his podcast in which he interviewed Dr Robert Malone, a virologist who claims to be one of the architects of mRNA technology, which is used in some Covid vaccines.
Dr Malone is however renowned for sharing Covid-19 misinformation. He has been banned from Twitter for doing so. On the podcast he claimed people were being “hypnotised” into accepting the vaccines and wearing masks, calling it a form of “mass formation psychosis”. Dr Malone also shared the false anti-vax claim that hospitals are financially incentivised to falsely diagnose Covid-19 deaths, and supported the use of antiparasitic drug ivermectin as a Covid treatment.
Rogan himself has also promoted taking ivermectin to treat Covid-19 symptoms, despite there being little evidence to support it.
“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,” Rogan said during the episode with Dr Malone.
Rogan has previously interviewed other medical professionals, including Dr Peter McCullough with anti-vax views, claiming he is “just asking questions”.It led to 270 doctors, physicians, and science educators signing an open letter to Spotify calling on the platform to take action against misinformation.
The letter reads:
“With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, JRE, which is hosted exclusively on Spotify, is the world’s largest podcast and has tremendous influence.
“Spotify has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, though the company presently has no misinformation policy.” This weekend, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also expressed “concerns” about misinformation on Spotify, with whom they have a lucrative £18m podcast contract.