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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Joe Rogan. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

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."

Go deeper: Spotify reports strong Q1 revenue as Joe Rogan podcast exceeds expectations

Go deeper

Apr 28, 2021 - Technology

Spotify reports strong Q1 revenue growth

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Spotify on Wednesday reported strong Q1 revenue growth, fueled by positive subscriber additions and strong ad sales, as well as lowered headwinds from foreign exchange rates.

The big picture: The Swedish tech giant noted that increased subscriber growth and user engagement can be attributed in part to the better-than-expected performance of "The Joe Rogan Experience," a podcast it acquired exclusively for over $100 million.

Updated 4 mins ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based group said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September period in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.

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