Joe Rogan walks back anti-vaccination comments
Joe Rogan back-pedaled on statements he made on his podcast last week when he suggested young people who are healthy do not need to get the coronavirus vaccine.
Why it matters: Rogan's comments drew swift backlash from critics, including multiple Biden officials.
- "Did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren't looking?" White House communications director Kate Bedingfield quipped when asked about the comments on TV Wednesday.
- "You're talking about yourself in a vacuum," said White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci on NBC.
Details: On an episode of his podcast out Thursday, Rogan acknowledged the White House's response to his comments and conceded "there's some legitimate science behind this."
- "I'm not an anti-vaxx person," he clarified. "I said I believe they're safe and I encourage many people to take them. My parents were vaccinated. I just said that if you're a young, healthy person that you don't need it."
- "Their argument was, you need it for other people ... But that's a different argument. That's a different conversation."
- Rogan went on to add that his comments were blown out of proportion in part due to clickbait headlines.
- He also said he was scheduled to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before that vaccine was temporarily paused.
"I'm not a doctor, I'm a f***-ing moron," he said. "I'm not a respected source of information, even for me ... But I at least try to be honest about what I'm saying."
Sources tell Axios that Spotify did not direct Rogan to soften his statements.
- The tech giant faced criticism for giving the host a platform to spread misinformation about vaccines.
- Spotify noted on its earnings report Thursday that increased subscriber growth and user engagement can be attributed in part to the better-than-expected performance of Rogan's podcast, which the company acquired exclusively for over $100 million.
The big picture: This isn't the first time Spotify has had to reckon with Rogan's comments. The audio company faced blowback for airing episodes of his podcast in October that featured far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
- At the time, Spotify defended its decision not to remove the episode saying, “We are not going to ban specific individuals from being guests on other people’s shows, as the episode/show complies with our content policies."