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Joe Rogan, Who Downplayed the Pandemic and Dismissed Vaccines, Got Covid

Oh but don't worry, he's taking horse paste to clear it up.

Joe Rogan records his podcast.

Few things are more surprising than Joe Rogan’s ascent to massively successful podcaster. The C-list comedian who was best known for hosting Fear Factor, a game show where regular folks ate worms to win money, is now among the most popular podcasters in the country, with an estimated 11 million listeners per episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Rogan has since used his enormous influence to downplay the horrific pandemic and encourage his listeners not to get vaccinated.

So it comes as no big surprise that Rogan tested positive for the coronavirus. Rogan made the announcement in an Instagram post, where he listed the medications he was taking to combat the virus, which include monoclonal antibodies and prednisone, both of which have been established as legitimate medical treatments.


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A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Rogan added that he had a vitamin drip and used Ivermectin, the horse dewormer that has been debunked as a cure by the FDA. It’s been reported that at least 70% of recent calls to poison control were due to people ingesting ivermectin they’ve been buying in bulk at livestock supply stores. However, that hasn’t stopped right-wing shills and Facebook relatives from relentlessly promoting the livestock drug.

Rogan, who has an estimated net worth of more than $100 million, probably found a doctor to prescribe the human-grade Ivermectin—an anti-parasite drug used to treat things like roundworm infection or, topically, rosacea—and which is still not an accepted COVID treatment. But many of his listeners will only be able to get their hands on the dangerous farm supply version of this “medicine.”

Rogan’s diagnosis comes just months after his April 23 podcast episode where he said, “If you’re, like, 21 years old, and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go ‘No,’” adding, “If you’re a healthy person and you’re exercising all the time and you’re young and you’re eating well, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”

Despite Rogan’s assurances that he was not “an anti-vaxx person” and “I’m not a doctor, I’m a … moron,” Rogan is clearly encouraging his listeners to ignore the seriousness of the disease and the efficacy of the vaccines. One has to also further wonder if Rogan, despite all his protestations, was actually vaccinated himself, which might account for why he says he feels better after only a few days.

In addition, Rogan has hosted Covid deniers and anti-vaxxers like InfoWars troll Alex Jones. It would be bad enough if Rogan were just another fringe lunatic shouting nonsense into the ether, but he’s not. Rogan is the most popular podcaster on Spotify, with millions of devoted fans who treat his words as gospel. He is in a position of enormous power, and he is willfully using it to discourage people from getting vaccinated.

Rogan’s anti-vaccine stance is couched, like so many others, in an individual’s freedom to do what they want with their body (aka the only time these folks support “my body my choice”). Unfortunately, Rogan’s actions (and those of his listeners) don’t just affect himself. It affects everyone in the community who is vulnerable, from children to immunocompromised folks to cancer survivors.

Dr. Anthony Fauci previously said, “Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak, … Because it is likely that you — even if you have no symptoms — that you may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else, who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome. So if you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that’s OK.”

Due to Rogan’s outsized influence, White House officials have responded to his claims. White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told CNN, “I guess my first question would be, did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren’t looking? … I’m not sure that taking scientific and medical advice from Joe Rogan is perhaps the most productive way for people to get their information.”

Will Rogan change his views after his brush with Covid? Probably not. If anything, he will likely use his experience to further downplay the virus and encourage his listeners to use dubious methods of treatment. And everyone else will have to suffer from their collective stupidity. In the meantime, will America ever tire of giving the worst people the biggest platforms?

(via NY Times, image: screencap)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.