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Joe Rogan Has Learned Absolutely Nothing, Continues To Push COVID-19 Misinformation on Spotify Podcast

Joe Rogan looks serious against a dark background

Earlier this year, the public outcry over Joe Rogan’s persistent misinformation campaign regarding the COVID-19 vaccine reached a fever pitch, with hundreds of health care professionals calling on Spotify to stop platforming Rogan’s lies and numerous high-profile musicians pulling their catalogs from the streaming service.

That all happened back in January if you can believe it, and if you thought that Rogan and/or Spotify, which hosts Rogan under an exclusive $100 million contract, took any of the criticism seriously at all, the answer is very clearly no. Spotify added a “content advisory”—which isn’t even a disclaimer, just a banner saying “Learn about COVID-19” with a link that leads to more of their own podcasts—to episodes that contain COVID-related content. That is, by the way, the same advisory whether it’s a medical podcast hosted by legitimate experts or one of Rogan’s podcasts where he chooses to detail the recipe for his own personal COVID remedy “cocktail.”

Since the end of January, Rogan has had 25 podcast episodes featuring the COVID-19 advisory. His latest, where he interviews comedy black hole Bill Maher, is truly terrible. Absolutely nothing could get me to listen to the episode in full but here’s how The Wrap summed things up:

“Real Time” host Bill Maher stopped by the “Experience” for an episode that dropped Tuesday, and the like-minded TV hosts had no qualms about questioning pharmaceutical companies, the trustworthiness of the medical establishment in general and COVID vaccines — the kinds of things that got Rogan into hot water earlier this year.

“I don’t trust them to tell me the truth about what they put in there,” Maher said. “Or if it’s gonna be bad for me … my overarching theme about anything medical, is that … most people are giving us too much credit for where we are medically. [We’re] further along than where we used to be. We’re not putting wooden teeth into people … my point of view is we are still at the infancy of understanding how the human body works. So don’t tell me things like, ‘Just do what we say, don’t question it. When have we ever been wrong?’ A LOT,” Maher said.

“All the time!” responded Rogan.

Maher went on to proclaim that there’s no way of knowing if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe, while Rogan pointed to the “insane” profits that pharmaceutical companies make off of vaccines. And while big pharma is no one’s hero, I do wonder who Rogan thinks he’s giving his money to when he stocks up on hydroxychloroquine and the other unproven treatments he’s constantly pushing.

So if you were wondering if Joe Rogan and/or Spotify had made any meaningful changes to their most dangerous content following an intense period of public criticism, the answer is obviously no.

(image: James Gilbert/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.