Dwayne Johnson calls Joe Rogan support a ‘learning moment’ after N-word footage

Dwayne Johnson smiling in a pink suit and tie
Actor Dwayne Johnson arrives at the London premiere of “Jumanji: The Next Level” in 2019.
(Joel C Ryan / Invision / Associated Press)

Dwayne Johnson is rethinking his prior support of Joe Rogan after learning that the controversial podcast host repeatedly used the N-word on his show.

On Friday evening, the movie star said he was “not aware” of Rogan’s history of using the racist slur when he publicly praised Rogan’s response to the growing Spotify boycott last month. Rogan apologized Saturday after musician India Arie shared a video montage of him saying the N-word about 20 times on his podcast throughout the years.

“Thank you so much for this,” Johnson replied Friday to a tweet from author Don Winslow reprimanding him for defending Rogan.


“I hear you as well as everyone here 100% I was not aware of his N word use prior to my comments, but now I’ve become educated to his complete narrative. Learning moment for me.”

Another celebrity who drew sharp criticism for appearing to side with Rogan is comedian Whitney Cummings, who tweeted Saturday, “Don’t look to why so many people trust Joe Rogan, look to why so few people trust the mainstream media.” Unlike Johnson, Cummings seemed to double down on her defense of stand-up comic Rogan by adding, “Comedians did not sign up to be your hero.”

Johnson’s tweet comes shortly after veteran rocker Neil Young and several other artists, including Arie, removed their music from Spotify because of the platform’s ongoing relationship with Rogan. Entertainment figures have cited Rogan’s racist remarks, as well as his widely criticized comments about COVID-19, as reasons for ditching the streamer.

In late January, Rogan responded to the Spotify revolt by promising to “try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives” on his wildly popular podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” At the time, Johnson lauded Rogan’s statement and offered via Instagram to appear as a guest on his show.

Joe Rogan apologized on Instagram for saying the N-word in the past as Spotify removes early episodes of his show.

“Great stuff here brother,” Johnson commented. “Perfectly articulated. Look forward to coming on one day and breaking out the tequila with you.”

After Arie held him accountable for using the N-word, Rogan insisted he’s “not racist” but admitted he was in the wrong for saying the racist slur. Around the same time, Spotify quietly scrubbed about 70 old episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” from the platform without explanation.

“I’m not racist, but whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you f— up, and I clearly have f— up,” Rogan said.

“I can’t go back in time and change what I said, I wish I could, obviously that’s not possible, but I do hope this could be a teachable moment for anybody that doesn’t realize how offensive that word could be coming out of a white person’s mouth, in context or out of context.”