Joe Rogan says he will quit podcasting if he has to ‘walk on eggshells’

Rogan’s podcast drew criticism from musicians including Neil Young for spreading rampant misinformation about Covid

Joe Rogan compares vaccine passports to a 'dictatorship'

Joe Rogan has said he would rather quit podcasting altogether than censor himself amid a push to control content being released on streaming platforms.

Neil Young’s boycott of Spotify, who is the sole distributor of Rogan’s The Joe Rogan Experience, triggered a larger conversation about the audio streaming company’s responsibility to manage misinformation on its platform.

On 31 December 2021, over 250 doctors and scientists had, in an open letter to Spotify, pointed out that Rogan’s podcast “has a concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Consequently, Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify telling the Swedish company to delete all his music over its lucrative $100m (£73.8m) exclusivity contract for Rogan’s content.

Young’s music has not been available on Spotify since the audio streamer refused to terminate its association with Rogan, with other musicians, including Joni Mitchell, joining Young in his demand for safety standards in streaming.

Speaking withTuesday night’s (29 March) guest on The Joe Rogan Experience, mixed martial artist Josh Barnett, Rogan touched upon the backlash against his podcast over misinformation about Covid-19.

As well as featuring controversial guests who have propagated unscientific claims about the disease, such as virologist Dr Robert Malone, Rogan has promoted the antiparasitic drug Ivermectin as a cure for Covid.

Ivermectin, a veterinary drug, is used to treat human afflictions such as parasitic worms, head lice and rosacea, according to the US Food and Drug Association (FDA).

A study of hundreds of Covid-19 patients has found that ivermectin, often touted by vaccine skeptics as an alternative treatment for the disease, does not in fact provide infection against hospitalisation among those infected.

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Singer Neil Young has boycotted Spotify over its association with Rogan

After Barnett said it didn’t appear as though Rogan had let criticism against rampant misinformation deter him, the controversial podcast host responded: “If I become something different because [the podcast] grew bigger, I’ll quit,”

He added: “If it gets to the point where I can’t do it anymore, where I have to do it in some sort of weird way where I walk on eggshells and mind my p’s and q’s … f*** that.”

At least 11m people listen to each episode of The JRE, while Rogan claimed in 2019 his show received 190 million downloads a month.

The average age of Rogan’s listeners is 24 – individuals “who erroneously believe they are impervious to the detrimental and potentially long-term consequences of this disease”, psychiatry research fellow at Harvard Medical School Eden Maness told The Independent.

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