Scientists, doctors, and famous performers have come out in full force to slam the Spotify podcast of Joe Rogan, accusing him of spreading misinformation on COVID and climate change. Finally, Rogan is now publicly responding, as is the streaming platform. In a lengthy video posted to Instagram late Sunday, the 54-year-old comedian and TV personality apologized to Spotify for the backlash against The Joe Rogan Experience and thanked the company for its support. "I'm very sorry that this is happening to them and that they're taking so much heat from it," he said. However, Rogan then launched into a defense of his podcast, specifically addressing people who "have a distorted perception of what I do, maybe based on sound bites, or based on headlines of articles that are disparaging."
Rogan concedes he's not always as prepared as he could be before sitting down to talk to some of the guests on his show, but only because they're "just conversations" outside of the mainstream that he thinks are important for listeners to hear. "I'm not trying to promote misinformation, I'm not trying to be controversial," he said, per the AP. "I've never tried to do anything with this podcast other than just talk to people." The Verge notes that some of those people he's been chatting with have eyebrow-raising backgrounds, including Dr. Robert McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, who's been banned from Twitter due to his promotion of COVID misinformation. Rogan defends those two in particular, calling them "highly credentialed," and disputes he's spreading misinformation, arguing that positions his guests have taken in the past, like on cloth masks, have since become accepted views.
"I do not know if they're right," he said of his guests. "I don't know because I'm not a doctor. I'm not a scientist. I'm just a person who sits down and talks to people. ... Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. I get things wrong, but I try to correct them whenever I get something wrong. I try to correct it because I'm interested in telling the truth." Meanwhile, Spotify on Sunday addressed the controversy, noting it will be adding content advisories to all podcasts that discuss COVID, send listeners to a COVID "hub" with links to credible information, and, for the first time, be transparent with the public about its platform rules, per CNN Business. Rogan seems game to be held to account, agreeing with the content advisories and noting that on his podcast, he'll seek to "have more experts with differing opinions, right after I have the controversial ones." (Read more Joe Rogan stories.)