CultureThe Witch-Hunt For Joe Rogan Must Stop

The Witch-Hunt For Joe Rogan Must Stop

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The CEO of online video platform Rumble has publicly offered Joe Rogan a four-year contract worth $100 million, despite the recent backlash.

The popular podcaster and former UFC commentator has enjoyed unprecedented success in recent years with his podcast series, The Joe Rogan Experience, where he regularly interviews public figures. In 2017 and 2018, The Joe Rogan Experience was Apple’s second-most downloaded podcast. In 2020 Spotify announced a $100 million deal with Rogan for exclusive rights to the podcast.

Recently, Rogan has come under fire for hosting physicians that allegedly provided misinformation about Covid-19. Many public figures were alarmed by this and quickly called for Spotify to remove his podcast from the platform.

Musician Neil Young threatened to remove his music from Spotify if Rogan’s podcast was not removed; he subsequently carried out his threat after Spotify denied his request. Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell also removed her musical material from the platform in solidarity with Young.

In addition to this, a video resurfaced on Instagram (posted by singer India Arie) which showed Rogan using a racial slur (the n-word) on his podcast 22 times over a period of 12 years, in addition to comparing African-Americans to apes.

Spotify agreed to add disclaimers regarding Covid-19 at the beginning of Rogan’s podcasts, and actually pulled over 100 episodes of the podcast.

CEO Daniel Ek said, in a statement, “While I strongly condemn what Joe has said… I want to make one point very clear – I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer.”

“We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but cancelling voices is a slippery slope.”

CEO of Rumble Chris Pavlovski publicly offers Joe Rogan a multi-million dollar contract.

Too much of a coincidence

Make no mistake about it – this is a witch hunt against Joe Rogan. What are the odds that his views and conversations around coronavirus – many of which challenge the establishment’s narrative – coincide with accusations of racism, bigotry and spreading misinformation?

There are two factors at play here; the first being a clear attempt to censor information and maintain a status quo that is shared by a certain elite class of people and those who benefit financially from coronavirus, and the second a petty, passive-aggressive and spiteful form of professional competition, due to Rogan being found to be more popular and trustworthy than many major news networks in recent weeks.

Joe Rogan has enjoyed success long before the coronavirus era. He has interviewed the likes of Dr. Jordan Peterson, Robert Downey Jr., Ben Shapiro and Mike Tyson to name but a few.

He regularly challenges and dissects arguments and narratives presented by his guests. Trying to ascertain fundamental answers to questions that the public wish to know about has been nothing new to Rogan.

Therefore, it stands to reason that his curiosity about certain topics would extend to coronavirus, a pandemic that has affected the entire globe. As such, it would be wrong of him to interview only those that have a certain opinion or viewpoint, insomuch as it would create an echo chamber of recycled and regurgitated views that can be found everywhere. Coronavirus – much like any other topic – is not immune from criticism and scrutiny.

Joe Rogan interviews Jordan Peterson about self-improvement.

Rogan made the mistake of challenging the narrative around coronavirus simply by having a conversation, which certain groups in society consider to be a mortal sin. To even have a discussion about such an apparently sacred and sacrosanct topic is to be morally wrong, hence their fury and desperation to have Rogan cancelled.

If they cannot attack the message, they attack the messenger. In their desperation to be seen as morally superior, the mob fails to see the error in their ways. Since virtue signalling is an addictive – and marketable – tool in the arsenal of ‘social justice’, it is often better to be seen as being moral than actually being moral.

Firstly, the videos of Rogan using the n-word slur was a compilation taken over 12 years. There was ample time for people to call him out on his words. Why choose now, just as he’s receiving backlash for his podcast? Do his words that were said over a decade ago reflect his character today?

Secondly, those videos could be easily taken out of context; logically, if Rogan is a racist for simply using the word, then US President Joe Biden is also a racist, as he’s used the slurs also – but within a much more serious context. Why is he not being ‘cancelled’?

Thirdly, the mob might want to think about where their morals truly lie. R. Kelly, convicted of sex trafficking, is still on the Spotify platform. Where is the moral outrage? It does seem like a double standard.

Joe Biden says the n-word out loud in 1985.

We also have to consider the fact that Joe Rogan’s podcast has become such a phenomenon, he has overtaken several legacy media outlets in terms of viewership.

According to Nielsen, in 2021 Q3 (July-September), The Joe Rogan Experience outperformed the likes of Tucker Carlson on FOX News, CNN Prime Time and even MSNBC’s average viewership. The podcast averaged 11 million views per episode, whilst Tucker Carlson came in a far distant second at 3.24 million.

It would not be out of the realm of normality and reason to suggest professional jealousy could be a factor at play here. If Rogan, a simple and honest commentator, can not only go toe-to-toe with professional media outlets but actually surpass their viewership by a country mile, it would put journalists and broadcasters to shame.

Hence, they would support any and every attempt to bring Rogan down by assassinating his character, thereby boosting their own portfolio and profile simultaneously by being seen to be doing good.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson weighs in as to why Rogan is so successful.

Combined with an implied idea of having a monopoly on the ‘truth’ regarding Covid due to journalistic integrity, it would not be implausible to suggest that many broadcasters simply do not like competition, especially as they may feel Rogan might not deserve his success due to him being ‘only’ a commentator whereas they might have trained for years in the journalist craft.

He was accused of sharing Covid misinformation, despite having evidence to the contrary. That tactic failed. Next was an attempt to label him a racist using videos most likely taken out of context. Again, the tactic seems to be failing.

What will he be accused of next? Misogyny? Islamaphobia? Biphobia? Transphobia? Anti-Semitism?

Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that Joe Rogan is considered a threat to the status quo maintained by the powers-that-be, and as such he is being persecuted for it.

He has demonstrable proof that, without specialist training, he has beaten highly qualified journalists and broadcasters at their own game and challenged the monopoly on the information that media outlets and governments want people to believe without question.

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

George R.R Martin, American novelist
Aaron Fenton-Hewitt
Aaron Fenton-Hewitt
Aaron Fenton-Hewitt is an aspiring journalist and political commentator. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Film from London Metropolitan University, and a Master's in Writing for Creative and Professional Practice from Middlesex University. He wishes to continue his academic career, with a PhD in Politics or related field. Aaron is also a freelance photographer, an avid foodie and an Arsenal supporter.

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