Podcast host Joe Rogan has addressed claims that he is trying to share misinformation about COVID-19 on his Spotify podcast after scientists and medical professionals, as well as singer Neil Young, claimed that he had.
In a 10-minute video posted to Instagram on Sunday night, Rogan said he wanted to address the controversy over the past few days and thank his fans for their support.
It comes after Spotify agreed to remove Neil Young’s music when the singer accused Rogan, 54, who hosts Spotify’s top-rated podcast, of spreading false information about coronavirus vaccines and “potentially causing death.”
“A lot of people … have a distorted perception of what I do,” Rogan said Sunday while defending two recent episodes of the “The Joe Rogan Experience” that featured guests Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone, who shared opinions about COVID-19 that differed from the “mainstream narrative.”
He called these guests “highly credentialed, very intelligent, very highly-accomplished people” and stressed that the aim of his show was to interview people with different opinions.
“These podcasts are very strange because they’re just conversations,” Rogan said. “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 that prepared or fleshed out because I’m literally having them in real time, but I do my best and they’re just conversations, and I think that’s also the appeal of the show. It’s one of the things that makes it interesting.”
Rogan also said he was “very sorry that this is happening” to Spotify and that “they’re taking so much heat from it.”
He pledged to bring more balance to his show with opinions from a variety of experts, while also reiterating that he himself is “not a doctor or a scientist.”
Stressing that he is not trying to be controversial or promote misinformation with his podcasts, Rogan admitted that his show has become “some out-of-control juggernaut that I barely have control of” and that he doesn’t “always get it right.”
He then pledged to “try harder to get people with differing opinions on” and “do my best to make sure I’ve researched these topics.” He reiterated a few times that he is “not a doctor or a scientist.”
During the lengthy video, Rogan also claimed that he is “not mad at Neil Young” and called himself a life-long fan of the singer.
Spotify announced on Jan. 27 that it would remove Young’s songs from its service after the singer issued the company with an ultimatum: choose between scrapping Rogan or him.
Days later, Canadian singer Joni Mitchell announced she would pull her music from the platform for similar reasons.
Of the singers’ departures from Spotify, Rogan added: “I’m very sorry that they feel that way. I most certainly don’t want that.”
The comedian said that he agreed with Spotify’s plans to add a disclaimer to podcast videos that are controversial, especially if they are regarding COVID-19.
Such a warning would tell listeners to speak with their physicians and that the opinions expressed in the podcast are contrary to the opinion of the consensus of experts, Rogan said.
“I think it is very important, sure, have that on there, I’m very happy with that,” he said.
Ending the video, the podcast host concluded: “I’m not trying to be controversial. I’m going to do my best in the future to balance things out … If I [expletive] you off, I’m sorry.”
Rogan’s video comes as Spotify’s chief executive officer Daniel Ek announced that the company will be adding content advisories to podcast episodes in an effort to combat misinformation about COVID-19.
In a blog post published on Jan. 30, the Swedish audio streaming service said the content advisories will direct listeners to a COVID-19 hub where they can find “data-driven facts” and “up-to-date information” from scientists, physicians, academics, public health authorities, and other “trusted sources.”
The new content advisory will be rolled out to users across the world in the coming days and the company is also publishing existing platform rules to help creators understand how Spotify assesses content on its platform.
The streaming giant’s platform rules for creators state that they cannot publish “content that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive medical information that may cause offline harm or poses a direct threat to public health.”
“Based on the feedback over the last several weeks, it’s become clear to me that we have an obligation to do more to provide balance and access to widely-accepted information from the medical and scientific communities guiding us through this unprecedented time. These issues are incredibly complex,” Ek wrote in the post.