Joe Rogan Says He’s “Not An Anti-Vaxx Person” After Blowback For Comments About Young People

“I believe they’re safe, and I encourage many people to take them.”

Joe Rogan performs at The Ice House Comedy Club on March 15, 2019 in Pasadena, California. | Getty Images
Joe Rogan performs at The Ice House Comedy Club on March 15, 2019 in Pasadena, California. | Getty Images

Joe Rogan attempted to clarify controversial recent comments advising young, healthy people against getting vaccinated, which had conflicted with public health and government officials’ guidance.

“I’m not an anti-vaxx person,” Rogan said during Thursday’s episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” “In fact, I said I believe they’re safe, and I encourage many people to take them. My parents were vaccinated. I just said I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person that you need it. [Detractors’] argument was you need it for other people.”

“So you don’t transmit the virus,” Rogan’s guest, comedian Andrew Santino, then said.

“That makes more sense,” Rogan responded. “But that’s a different argument. That’s a different conversation.”

What started the controversy?

On the April 23 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which airs exclusively on Spotify, Rogan said people who are “vulnerable” should get vaccinated but said he’d advise young, healthy people not to.

“But if you're like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I'll go no,” the host said in an interview with comedian Dave Smith. Rogan added: “If you're a healthy person, and you're exercising all the time, and you're young, and you’re eating well, like, I don't think you need to worry about this.”

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the podcast host is “incorrect.”

“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,” Dr. Fauci said Wednesday on “TODAY.

Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, declined to comment on Rogan’s widely admonished statements when asked by a Bloomberg News reporter.

“What I will say is we have 8 million creators, and hundreds of millions of pieces of content,” Ek told Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw on April 27. “We have a content policy and we do remove pieces that violate it.”

At the same time Spotify’s CEO rolled its star into a pool of millions, the company also highlighted the podcast host for “attracting users and boosting ad sales,” according to Bloomberg News.

During an interview Wednesday, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield questioned whether Rogan is the best source of medical and scientific advice.

“I guess my first question would be: did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren’t looking?” Bedingfield said on CNN’s “New Day.”

The Verge reported that Spotify reviewed the episode in question but didn’t take it down because Rogan doesn’t “come off outwardly anti-vaccine” or “make a call to action,” according to an unnamed source. The streaming platform has previously removed content peddling COVID-19 misinformation. In January, Spotify removed Australian conspiracy theorist Pete Evans’ podcast, saying the company “prohibits content on the platform which promotes dangerous false, deceptive, or misleading content about COVID-19 that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health.”

“When content that violates this standard is identified it is removed from the platform,” a Spotify spokesperson said at the time to multiple outlets.

Spotify has removed at least 40 episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” as of April 6, according to Digital Music News. In a March episode, Rogan said: “There were a few episodes [Spotify] didn’t want on their platform, and I was like ‘okay, I don’t care’.”

The podcast host has previously been called out for making comments on his show that are transphobic and straight-up conspiracy theories, including that “left-wing people” started historic wildfires on the west coast in 2020.

Rogan’s recent comments about COVID-19 are particularly concerning considering the trends in cases among young people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing in early April that “cases are increasing nationally, and we are seeing this occur predominantly in younger adults.”

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