Top 10 Joe Rogan Controversies

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Top 10 Joe Rogan Controversies

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
As one of the biggest podcasters in the world, scandal was inevitable. For this list, we'll be looking at the worst controversies that have hit popular comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan. Our countdown includes The Jack Dorsey Interview, Smoking with Elon Musk, The Robert W. Malone Episode, and more!
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Top 10 Joe Rogan controversies


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Joe Rogan controversies.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the worst controversies that have hit popular comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan.

What do you make of these controversies? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: The Jack Dorsey Interview


Millions of people tune in to “The Joe Rogan Experience” because of its long-form conversational style. Rather than the light, frothy entertainment of late night talk shows, Joe Rogan sits down and talks in depth with his guests, sometimes for three-plus hours. However, many people felt that Rogan was off his game while talking to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. This episode generated a lot of controversy within the Rogan fan circle. Some thought he didn’t grill Dorsey enough, some thought the discussion was too “corporate,” and some even thought that Rogan had edited the podcast and was censoring YouTube comments. Rogan eventually took to Instagram to defend himself, and Dorsey later appeared in a redemptive episode alongside citizen journalist Tim Pool.

#9: Moving to Spotify


For a long time, Spotify has been criticized for its terrible implementation of podcasting. This has become an even bigger problem now that Spotify is buying up numerous shows and making them exclusive to their app. This is exactly what happened with “The Joe Rogan Experience,” and it made a lot of his fans angry. The show used to be on YouTube, and each episode generated millions of views. But then it was announced that Rogan was moving exclusively to Spotify in a deal reportedly worth a staggering $100 million. Many were outraged, and some suspect that Rogan lost a lot of influence and popularity following the move. Of course, that’s hard to judge conclusively because Spotify does not release their listening numbers.

#8: Smoking with Elon Musk


If someone wants to see the impact that “The Joe Rogan Experience” has on pop culture, one only needs to study the Elon Musk controversy. Musk appeared on Rogan’s show on September 6, 2018, and the episode understandably became a huge hit. During the episode, Musk took a hit of Rogan’s cigar, which supposedly contained a mix of tobacco and cannabis. The image became a meme, but it also caused a lot of public controversy for Musk. Tesla stock immediately plunged, although this could be due to the simultaneous departure of an important executive. The media also tore into Musk, with some even worrying about his public image and mental stability.

#7: Shared by Donald Trump


Rogan often came under fire during Trump’s presidency. During the very public 2020 election, Rogan was criticized for saying that he’d “rather vote for Trump than Biden” owing to Biden’s age and what he perceived as his mental state. But the real controversy occurred when Donald Trump himself got involved. Rogan criticized a potential Biden presidency, comparing him to a flickering flashlight in the dark woods. This tickled Trump, and he shared the clip to his millions of followers on social media. This generated even more interest in Rogan and his political stance, and many assumed that he was endorsing the most controversial President of our time.

#6: Misreporting the Wildfires


Joe Rogan came under intense media scrutiny during the 2020 California wildfire season. During a September podcast with writer and political commentator Douglas Murray, Rogan shared a baseless conspiracy theory that claimed “left wing people” had started the fires and had been arrested for doing so. This conspiracy theory became so widespread that the FBI was forced to get involved, and they essentially told the public to stop spreading nonsense. This was a rare instance in which Rogan publicly acknowledged the controversy and apologized. He admitted that he didn’t look into the claim before stating it and apologized for spreading political misinformation.

#5: Hosting Alex Jones


The thing about “The Joe Rogan Experience” is that it welcomes everyone - even those who have been publicly ostracized. Rogan has often come under fire for hosting alt-right figures on his show, including Milo Yiannopoulos and Owen Benjamin. But his most controversial guest has arguably been Infowars founder Alex Jones. Jones has been banned from virtually every social media platform, but he appeared on Rogan’s show in October of 2020. Critics argued that Jones shouldn’t have been given a public platform to spread his controversial views, especially one as popular as “Joe Rogan.” The episode even resulted in some alleged internal pushback from Spotify employees, who were angered over Jones’s appearance on their platform.


#4: Using Ethnic Slurs


The beginning of 2022 was a tough time for Mr. Rogan. Among other controversies that will be discussed shortly, Rogan was also targeted by a montage of him saying the n-word. The 30 second long montage contained dozens of utterances of the n-word. The tweet was liked, shared, and retweeted by thousands and quickly made the rounds through the internet. In early February, singer India Arie reposted the clip compilation to her social media. Rogan responded with an apology video, clarifying how the snippets were “taken out of context” and that he’s since changed his position on who could and couldn’t say the word. Dozens of his podcast episodes were subsequently removed from the audio streaming site.


#3: The Robert W. Malone Episode


In late December of 2021, Joe Rogan hosted physician and biochemist Robert W. Malone on his podcast. While Malone is a pioneer of mRNA technology, his misinformed opinions on the COVID vaccine have generated tons of controversy within the medical community. Malone has been banned from Twitter, and his opinions have been deemed both dangerous and incorrect by fellow medical professionals. Malone’s appearance on the podcast generated controversy, as did the things the virologist said, like comparing the response to COVID to Nazi Germany. According to many, Malone’s appearance on the show was incredibly harmful, as it amplified his misinformed voice to millions of susceptible listeners.

#2: His Views on Trans Fighters


For those who are unaware, Joe Rogan is also a color commentator for the UFC. In the early 2010s, Fallon Fox became the first openly transgender athlete to fight in MMA. Rogan did not approve of her fighting cisgender women owing to her build. On an episode of his podcast, Rogan referenced Fox’s “bone structure”, among other things. He also argued that she had an unfair physical advantage against the cisgender women she was fighting. Fox and various employees of Spotify have since asked that Rogan’s “transphobic” content be removed. Rogan has since clarified his stance on trans fighters, arguing that they should be allowed so long as their opponents are aware of who they’re fighting.

#1: COVID-19 Misinformation


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Rogan has been criticized for his views on the response and the vaccine. There was the whole ivermectin thing, where he falsely claimed the drug was a treatment of COVID. He has also argued against getting the vaccine, despite claiming that he is not anti-vax. It has all proven too much for some. In January 2022, hundreds of scientists and healthcare workers wrote an open letter to Spotify, asking them to curb the blatant misinformation found in “The Joe Rogan Experience.” According to them, the host is “a menace to public health.” Furthermore, musicians Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and several more have asked that their music be removed from Spotify in protest of Rogan’s misinformation.
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