Trump Decides He Needs to Weigh in on Joe Rogan Controversy

The former president said nothing about Rogan's COVID-19 misinformation or past use of a racial slur, which led to his apology

Donald Trump, Joe Rogan
Donald Trump, Joe Rogan. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty; Ronald Martinez/Getty

Joe Rogan said he was "sorry" that leading musicians were pulling music from Spotify over COVID-19 misinformation in episodes of his Joe Rogan Experience. He also apologized for repeatedly using a racial slur when referring to Black people on the podcast.

Now, former President Donald Trump has decided he needs to weigh in — but not on the controversy itself. Instead, he's taking issue with Rogan's apologies.

"Joe Rogan is an interesting and popular guy, but he's got to stop apologizing to the Fake News and Radical Left maniacs and lunatics," Trump said on Monday. "How many ways can you say you're sorry?" (Since being banned from social media after the pro-Trump Capitol riots, Trump has had to email out his comments to the press.)

The latest debate around Rogan, one of Spotify's most popular and polarizing audio hosts, began after singer Neil Young decided to remove his music from Spotify, citing "fake information about vaccines" and saying the streaming service "can have Rogan or Young. Not both."

Others, like Joni Mitchell, have followed Young's lead.

"I'm very sorry that they feel that way," Rogan said in response. "I most certainly don't want that."

The podcaster also said he would "do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints" and expressed his support for Spotify's recent decision to include disclaimers on podcast episodes discussing COVID-19.

In explaining her own reasons for pulling music from Spotify, singer India Arie pointed to Rogan's repeated use of the N-word in episodes of his podcast and shared a video of the host using it, which prompted Rogan to offer his "sincere and humble apologies" in a lengthy statement.

"I never used it to be racist, because I'm not racist. But whenever you're in a situation where you have to say, 'I'm not racist,' you've f----- up, and I clearly have f----- up," Rogan said. "There's nothing I can do to take that back. I wish I could, obviously, that's not possible."

Spotify CEO Daniel Elk condemned Rogan's past use of the slur and said his actions were "incredibly hurtful" and "do not represent the values of this company." However, Elk said he doesn't believe "silencing Joe is the answer."

In his statement on Monday, Trump — who made demeaning language and provocation a key part of his political brand — implied that Rogan should keep quiet only when it comes to apologizing and encouraged him not to cave when it comes to producing his podcast, despite the widespread backlash he's faced for controversial and offensive remarks.

"Joe, just go about what you do so well and don't let them make you look weak and frightened," Trump said. "That's not you and it never will be!"

According to Variety, Spotify removed 70 episodes of Rogan's podcast (recorded between 2009 and 2018) from their platform on Friday.

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