Have we gotten to the point where people need to be “protected” from someone’s opinions?

Addison Smith, Writer

To form an accurate opinion piece over the controversial podcast called, “The Joe Rogan Experience”, I listened in good lengths to a few of his episodes. After listening to those podcasts, ones controversial and ones not, I have come to a stable conclusion.

Joe Rogan, former wrestler, stand up comedian, UFC commentator and now podcast host, firstly came off to me as an extremely intelligent individual. 

Another thing I noticed when browsing the podcasts, is that all his guests are different. They vary from political parties, authors, psychologists, mainly people with interesting stories and opinions. 

Something those who don’t actually listen to the podcast don’t know, is that Rogan is actually not a republican. Many assume that he is, when in reality he is not affiliated to one party or the other. This is also shown with his variety of guests.

Someone had posted a compilation of Rogan saying the n-word, without showing the conversation or what he was quoting. When listening to the podcasts, it is shown in a whole different light than the misleading video. While it still isn’t necessarily excusable, it shows Rogan as someone who frequently uses the word as if it has no impact. When I saw what everyone was saying on social media, I had made similar assumptions. If you actually listen to the podcasts and do research on those conversations, it is shown differently than the video. 

Rogan even publicly apologized for the use of the word, saying it was, “the most regretful and shameful thing I’ve ever had to talk about publicly,” also adding that he had not used the word in years, There’s no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word.” Rogan continued in his video posted on his instagram. 

Many forget that Rogan isn’t the first celebrity to use the word, and many of those instances have been ignored. President Joe Biden, then senator, had read a part of a memo that contained racial slurs that had been used by a Louisiana legislator. “We already have a n—– mayor, we don’t need any more n—- big shots.” Biden said. Was Biden quoting someone? Yes. But Rogan said no matter the context. The point is, other celebrities like Biden and even Obama, including Kanye West when giving white attendees “permission” to use the word in his hit song “Gold Digger”, definitely did not get this much attention.

Explain to me how we are able to overlook these situations, but try to kick someone’s podcast off Spotify for them doing the same thing when they apologized? Yes, Rogan using the word was wrong. But he apologized, and understood how it was wrong. His apology video was sincere, and after watching it I truly believed he knows what he did wrong.

Spotify artists such as Joni Mitchell and Neil Young have removed their music from Spotify in protest, and Rogan has even addressed the issue in his video on instagram, saying he had no hard feelings toward them and saying he is happy to put a disclaimer on his podcast.

The second big issue against Rogan is his COVID statements. Rogan had a guest star, Dr. Robert Malone, who was involved in the making of the mRNA vaccine. His statement that became very controversial, was only his opinion. 

Malone had said he wasn’t against all vaccines, and he was only concerned that certain precautions with normal vaccines hadn’t been taken with mRNA vaccines for COVID. He also stated that in his opinion, he didn’t think people should be required to take the vaccine. How is stating your opinion labeled as mis-information? 

Malone’s opinions had not come off as harmful or as mis-information. Given the fact that many statements were made by Malone, and not Rogan himself, it definitely shouldn’t have caused the big explosion of aggression against Rogan.  

When it comes to The Joe Rogan Experience, while it isn’t for some people, it definitely should not be taken off of Spotify. I was interested in his topics and ideas, and if some try to take him off of Spotify and try to censor his opinions, it isn’t going to do anything. That won’t stop Rogan, and that’s just proving that we’ve gotten to the point where people will censor anyone with opinions they don’t agree with. After all, as CEO of YSC Consulting Eric Pliner said, “Spotify is saying they don’t believe in silencing someone who expresses a different point of view.”