Issue: Like it or not, we can’t censor Joe Rogan


Editorial Board

Last week, 76-year-old singer-songwriter Neil Young announced an ultimatum. Spotify could remove Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast, or Young would pull his music from the platform. Soon after, 78-year-old Joni Mitchell announced she would stand in solidarity with Young. The artists’ music was removed, and following the fiasco, Spotify stock dipped to a devastating 19-month low.  

As of this writing, The Joe Rogan Experience is still Spotify’s number one podcast, and Young and Mitchell are (presumably) developing new, frugal habits like buying store-brand cereal to stretch their now-depleted income.  

 Young is speaking out because Rogan has been accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and the MRNA vaccines. Rogan’s podcast has featured prominent skeptics, including one of the architects of MRNA technology, Dr. Robert Malone, who has questioned vaccine efficacy and safety.  

Rogan has also championed the use of the antiviral drug Ivermectin to treat COVID-19, even having it prescribed after contracting COVID-19 himself last year. While certain brands of Ivermectin can be used by humans, it has not been cleared by the FDA for use in COVID-19 treatment, though numerous studies are being conducted to prove efficacy one way or the other. Taking the veterinarian-strength horse-deworming version of Ivermectin, however, certainly isn’t a good idea. Remember, you are not a horse. 

The Collegian Editorial Board encourages everyone to take COVID-19 seriously, as it can be a deadly virus even in the weakened omicron state, and to talk to your doctor about the COVID-19 vaccines; for an overwhelming majority of people, there are fewer risks associated with the vaccines than with the virus. 

But the Collegian also strongly discourages de-platforming, even if it’s a voice the Editorial Board sometimes disagrees with. Young and others are attempting to strong-arm Spotify into silencing a show enjoyed by an estimated 11 million people—a show that covers a variety of topics and features an expansive list of guests—over views expressed on several episodes that they didn’t agree with.  

On Sunday, Rogan announced he was going to make a better effort to provide more balanced conversation about controversial topics.  

 Rogan has been supported by actor Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), 2020 democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg, among others.  

“I’m triple vaxxed, but (unless they’re standing for hate or calling for violence) banning someone’s podcast is too much like burning a book to me. Joe Rogan should talk on his podcast about whatever he damn well pleases,” Williamson tweeted.  

Mr. Young, before you take your heart of gold to the pawn shop to pay the electric bill, consider the implications of what you’re attempting. Please, put your music back on Spotify and keep on rockin’ in the free world.