While Joe Rogan has come under fire from critics who’ve accused him of using his popular podcast to promote conspiracy theories on politics, the coronavirus and vaccinations, the host emphasized this week there is one guest he won’t have on his show: former president Donald Trump.
In fact, Rogan said Monday on Lex Fridman's podcast that he has turned down Trump multiple times from appearing on Spotify's "The Joe Rogan Experience."
"I'm not a Trump supporter in any way, shape or form. I've had the opportunity to have him on my show more than once, I've said no every time," Rogan said. "I don't want to help him, I'm not interested in helping him."
Rogan, who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in 2020 and has said he would back Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis if the Republican were to run for president in 2024, described Trump as a "polarizing figure" and "an existential threat to democracy itself."
"So many people felt like they could abandon their own ethics and morals and principles just to attack him and anybody who supports him," Rogan said.
Neither Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich nor a representative with Spotify immediately responded to requests for comment on Wednesday.
Rogan, a stand-up comedian and color commentator for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is a lightning rod with a huge following. Rogan's show has an estimated audience of 11 million listeners an episode. Spotify acquired Rogan's podcast library in 2020 in a reported $100 million deal.
Rogan found himself under fire at the beginning of the year. In January, a coalition of hundreds of medical professionals called out Spotify for allowing Rogan to spread "false and societally harmful assertions" about the coronavirus and vaccinations on the streaming platform that hosts his podcast. Rogan repeatedly downplayed the need for coronavirus vaccines and used his platform to flirt with misinformation about covid-19. Podcasters and artists such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell told the streaming service they were taking their work off Spotify because the company was allowing Rogan to spread misinformation on the pandemic. Mary L. Trump, the former president's niece and fierce critic, was among those who removed their work from Spotify in response to Rogan.
The backlash led Rogan to post a video to Instagram admitting he could do more to better inform his millions of listeners, particularly when it comes to covid-19.
"I don't always get it right," he said earlier this year.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a news release that he refused to "cancel" Rogan, saying, "it is important to me that we don't take on the position of being content censor while also making sure that there are rules in place and consequences for those who violate them." That support came around the same time that roughly 70 episodes of "The Joe Rogan Experience" were removed from the platform without explanation.
Shortly after Rogan's controversies surrounding coronavirus misinformation and the many previous instances in which the host used the n-word, Trump offered his support to Rogan. The former president said in February that the embattled Spotify host should "stop apologizing." Trump had claimed the media and Democrats had forced Rogan to "look weak and frightened" by apologizing.
"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 in a news release from his Save America PAC. "How many ways can you say you're sorry? Joe, just go about what you do so well and don't let them make you look weak and frightened."
Trump repeated his support for the Spotify host in a March podcast interview, saying that Rogan "is not racist" and "a very interesting guy."
Rogan recently made headlines when he said he would support DeSantis if the Florida governor ran for president in 2024. DeSantis, considered a potential GOP rival to Trump, has not announced whether he is running.
"I think Ron DeSantis would work as a good president," Rogan told actress Gina Carano on her podcast, according to Orlando Weekly. "I mean, what he's done for Florida has been admirable."
Rogan added that he believed DeSantis's approach to the coronavirus in Florida was "correct." Florida has more than 6.5 million reported cases of covid-19 and more than 76,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
In Monday's interview, Fridman suggested to Rogan that Trump could still appear on his show one day. Fridman pointed to how Rogan has had other controversial figures on his Spotify show, such as Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. Rogan argued that Ye was different from Trump in that he's "an artist."
“Kanye doing well or not doing well doesn’t change the course of our country,” Rogan said.