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Joe Rogan responds to backlash over ‘dangerous misinformation’ promoted on his Spotify podcast

UFC 269 Weigh-in Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Joe Rogan vowed to do better in the wake of Spotify losing over $2 billion in market value after the streaming service’s stock plummeted last week in the wake of controversy surrounding the UFC color commentator’s podcast on the platform.

In a lengthy video post on his Instagram account, Rogan addressed the criticism he’s faced following popular musicians such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulling their catalogues from Spotify after demanding action on COVID-19 misinformation promoted on his show.

“I think there’s a lot of people that have a distorted perception of what I do, maybe based on soundbites or maybe based on headlines of articles that are disparaging,” Rogan said in the video. “The podcast has been accused of spreading dangerous misinformation.”

Rogan then addressed two guests, in particular, who appeared on his show — Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone — both of whom have been accused of spreading a false narrative surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rogan defended having both guests on his program but added that he needed to do better when presenting differing perspectives on a given subject, including conversations surrounding COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic.

“The problem I have with the term misinformation, especially today, is that many of the things that we thought of as misinformation just a short while ago are now accepted as fact,” Rogan said. “I do not know if they’re right. I do not know. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist. I’m just a person who sits down and talks to people and has conversations with them.

“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. I’m interested in finding out what the truth is, and I’m interested in having interesting conversations with people that have differing opinions. I’m not interested in only talking to people that have one perspective.”

While Spotify has stood by Rogan after signing him to a massive $100 million deal in 2020 to move his hugely popular podcast to the platform, the streaming service did announce plans to add a content advisory to any podcast episode regarding COVID-19.

Rogan said he agreed with the new Spotify policy and promised to do better regarding the guests he books for the show to ensure a more fair and balanced conversation.

“Sure, have that on there. I’m very happy with that,” Rogan said. “Also, I think if there’s anything that I’ve done that I could do better is having more experts with differing opinions right after I have the controversial ones. I would most certainly be open to doing that.

“I do all the scheduling myself and I don’t always get it right. These podcasts are very strange because they’re just conversations, and oftentimes I have no idea what I’m going to talk about until I sit down and talk to people, and that’s why some of my ideas are not prepared or fleshed out.”

Moving forward, Rogan also vowed to take more responsibility when it comes to his own research regarding any subjects he’s discussing on his show, in addition to welcoming more guests to offer a different opinion than those deemed controversial.

“I do think that’s important and do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics, the controversial ones in particular, and have all the pertinent facts at hand before I discuss them,” Rogan said.

“Again, I’m not trying to promote misinformation. I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than talk to people and have interesting conversations.”

Rogan’s podcast is one of the biggest in the world, with episodes routinely receiving millions of listens. While Rogan isn’t backing down from booking controversial guests, he hopes the changes he plans to enact will calm the choppy waters surrounding his podcast in recent months. He added that he remains a fan of artists like Young and Mitchell and apologized if his show has managed to rub anyone the wrong way.

“I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time, and I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much heat from it,” Rogan said.

“I am going to do my best in the future to balance things out. I’m going to do my best, but my point of doing this is always is just to create interesting conversations and ones that people enjoy. If I pissed you off, I’m sorry, and if you enjoy the podcast, thank you.”