Joe Rogan Slams Spotify Controversy as “Political Hit Job” – The Hollywood Reporter

Joe Rogan slammed his recent controversies as “a political hit job.”

In the Tuesday episode of his Spotify podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan discussed his recent headlines with his guest, comic Akaash Singh.

“In a lot of ways, this is a relief,” Rogan said. “That video [of Rogan saying the n-word in his podcast over the years] had always been out there. This is a political hit job. They’re taking all this stuff I’ve ever said that’s wrong and smushing it all together. It’s good because it makes me address some stuff that I really wish wasn’t out there.”

Rogan also pushed back on right-wing criticisms of his recent apology video, noting, “You should apologize if you regret something. I do think you have to be careful not to apologize for nonsense.”

Singh assured, “Real life is people who know you and you’re a great guy … On a podcast where you’re talking for hours on end, I have said shit about every demographic of human beings possible and I regret every one that was , like … not funny … the punishment is, everybody hears it and I’m an asshole. But I can’t stop shooting, I can’t stop swinging.”

“Over time, people will understand you,” Rogan added. “They know you. If you misstep, they know what you’re trying to do – you’re not a vicious person, you’re just trying to be funny.”

The move follows former President Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis separately weighing in on the comedian’s apology.

“Joe Rogan is an interesting and popular guy, but he’s got to stop apologizing to the Fake News and Radical Left maniacs and lunatics,” Trump said on Monday. “How many ways can you say you’re sorry?”

Meanwhile DeSantis said, “The mob will come after people, and they’re targeting Rogan because he’s threatening to upset the apple cart on some of the things that they’re holding dear. And with COVID, he’s just bringing opposing views. He’s letting people decide. They say he’s against [the COVID vaccine]. I do not listen to his show, but then I read he specifically advocated for people with comorbidities and elderly to get vaccinated. I think a lot of the legacy outlets and I think the left fear the fact that he can reach so many people, and so they’re out to destroy him. But what I would say is, don’t give an inch. Don’t apologize. Don’t cow[tow] to the mob. Stand up and tell them to pound sand; if you do that, there’s really nothing that they’re able to do to you.” Both men are considered likely to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Former presidential contender Andrew Yang made headlines by deleting a tweet about Rogan where he had defended the podcaster by saying,”I don’t think Joe Rogan is a racist … The man interacts with and works with black people literally all of the time.” Yang called the tweet “wrong headed” and said, “It also hurt people, which is never my intent. I’m sorry.”

In addition, on Monday, the Canadian video platform Rumble offered Rogan $100 million over four years to move his show from Spotify to its right-wing venue. “We stand with you, your guests and your legion of fans in desire for real conversation,” Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski wrote. “How about you bring all your shows to Rumble, both new and old, with no censorship, for $100 million bucks over four years? This is our chance to save the world. And yes, this is totally legit.”

Rogan has been the focus of a major controversy in recent weeks following musicians such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulling their music from Spotify in protest of the streamer being the exclusive distributor of the comedian’s podcast, which has featured guests in recent months that spread misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines. The controversy became more heated last Thursday after musician India. Arie circulated a compilation of clips of Rogan using the n-word on his podcast over the years (Arie likewise requested her music get removed from the service).

Rogan took to Instagram to apologize for his use of the racial slur, calling his comments “the most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.”

Other celebrities, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jon Stewart, have ventured into the controversy, expressing (and in some cases apologizing for) their own views.

Spotify has responded by removing more than 100 episodes of JRE from its platform that featured controversial guests or content but has otherwise stood by the comedian. CEO Daniel Ek told his staff in an email over the weekend, “I want to make one point very clear — I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer. We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope.”

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