Even Joe Rogan was appalled by that video of him using the N-word: ‘Stop saying it!’
Like many embattled comedians before him, Joe Rogan took the controversy swirling around him and turned it into a stand-up routine.
“The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast host performed at the Vulcan Gas Co. in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday night and addressed the brouhaha that has entangled him and Spotify over the past few weeks. It has led to an exodus of major artists such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and India Arie from the streaming platform, not to mention renewed attention to racist remarks Rogan has made in the past.
Rogan, who also came under fire for COVID-19 misinformation, didn’t mince words Tuesday. He joked that even he was put off by a compilation video highlighting his repeated use of the N-word over the years that made its rounds online last week. (It also prompted a new wave of outrage, another apology from Rogan and Spotify and the removal of dozens of his podcast episodes from the platform.)
Spotify isn’t new to controversy. Here’s a rundown of the music streamer’s history of feuds with artists and songwriters over royalties, privacy and more.
“I used to say it if [I was talking about] a Richard Pryor bit or something, I would say it in context,” Rogan said, according to Billboard and TMZ. “Somebody made a compilation of every time I said that word over 14 years and they put it on YouTube, and it turned out that was racist as f—. Even to me! I’m me and I’m watching it saying, ‘Stop saying it!’ I put my cursor over the video, and I’m like, ‘Four more minutes?!’”
The former UFC commentator said he hasn’t used the racial slur in years and attempted to deflect by explaining that it was “kind of weird” that people will get really mad if you use the word, but then “tweet about it on a phone that’s made by slaves.” That launched him into a bit about overseas labor conditions at factories.
Spotify paid millions to lure Joe Rogan but now faces pressure from more than 200 doctors to hold him to account for spreading misinformation about COVID vaccines on his podcast.
“I talk s— for a living. That’s why this is so baffling to me. If you’re taking vaccine advice from me, is that really my fault? What dumb s— were you about to do when my stupid idea sounded better?” the former “Fear Factor” host said. “You know that dude who made people eat animal d— on TV? How does he feel about medicine?’ If you want my advice, don’t take my advice.”
“No, Spotify has hung in with me, inexplicably,” he said. “Let’s see what happens.”
In yet another ‘sorry not sorry’ CEO email, Spotify’s Daniel Ek claims to regret the damage done by Rogan’s anti-vax stance and offensive language
He also dropped a new episode of his podcast Tuesday, which addressed the controversy. He described the compilation video as a “political hit job” but also said he has no qualms apologizing about regrets. (Notably, former President Trump issued a statement dated Feb. 7 telling Rogan to “stop apologizing” to his detractors.)
“If you stay offline, it’s just real life... In a lot of ways, this is a relief. ‘Cause that video has always been out there,” Rogan said. “This is a political hit job. They’re taking all this stuff that I’ve ever said that was wrong and smushing it all together. It’s good ‘cause it makes me address some s— that I really wish wasn’t out there.”
‘I wish there were an easier way,’ said bestselling author and researcher Brené Brown, who is under an exclusive contract with Spotify.
“You should apologize if you regret something... like if you regret something, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with apologizing. But I do think you have to be very careful to not apologize for nonsense,” he explained, making an example out of “Shang-Chi” star Awkwafina’s recent defense of using a “blaccent.”
Rogan’s latest comments coincide with author and researcher Brené Brown announcing she has resumed her podcast on Spotify. Last week the “Dare to Lead” writer had pulled her “Unlocking Us” podcast as part of the boycott led by Young. On Tuesday she explained why she returned while admitting that some of Rogan’s remarks had made her “physically sick.”
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