Joe Rogan is a wildly popular podcaster, and his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience is routinely one of, if not the, most listened to podcasts in the world. It’s easy to see why; Rogan speaks with a level of candor and Han Solo-esque nonchalance that can be endearing at times. His ability to be open and frank on every subject under the sun is his biggest strength. It is, however, paired with an equally big weakness.
Rogan’s career—comedian, reality TV host, and UFC commentator—often leaves him inexperienced and uneducated on the topic at hand. This has led Rogan to some eccentric views on the world, some of which go as far as tin foil hat conspiracy. Thankfully, and to Rogan’s credit, he has gracefully walked back and/or apologized for many of the craziest when confronted by experts.
Either way, here are ten of the best Joe Rogan conspiracies, ideas that’ll either make you cringe or stock up on Rogan-brand lizard-person repellant.
10 Radical Liberal Wildfires
Dangerous, widespread wildfires have plagued the west coast for years now due to a number of factors, most notably drought, climate change, and irresponsible human behavior. One factor that didn’t cause the fires was “left-wing people” suffering from “madness” who “want your head and they want blood, and they don’t seem to be willing to settle for anything less.”
Rogan said this and more on a September 2020 episode of his podcast, based on one article he read from an unverified source. The FBI was quick to debunk the claim, saying “Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away from local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control. Please help our entire community by only sharing validated information from official sources.” Rogan graciously gave a full apology and admitted that he “got duped” and was “sorry if I duped you (the listeners) as well.”
9 Crazy “B Words” Turn You into a Woman
Rogan has a long history of failing to understand transgendered people and has been criticized for tactless comments on the subject before, but one stands out. In September 2020 (again), Rogan questioned Caitlyn Jenner’s gender dysphoria, instead suggesting that life with the Kardashians caused Caitlyn’s transformation. He said, “maybe if you live with crazy b— long enough, they f— turn you into one. Maybe you go crazy.” There are a thousand things to criticize the Kardashians and Caitlyn Jenner for, but this isn’t exactly one.
8 A Classic: The Moon Landing was Faked
Ah, one of the golden oldies. Just raw, uncut conspiracy. The good stuff. For a long time, Rogan maintained that the moon landing was a hoax. He often talked about documentaries he had seen that convinced him and- having seen two of them myself- I get it. It’s such a fun conspiracy because it’s relatively harmless and somewhat plausible. The U.S. would kill to win the space race, and though we did indeed win it for real, no fakery needed, it is completely believable that we would have faked a landing if it meant a win. Rogan has since come around on his views, saying- rather intelligently- that he had previously looked at the evidence without objectivity and that, once he had tried to be as objective as possible, he realized he had been wrong and so changed his mind. If every crackpot could be that humble and wise, the world would be better overnight.
7 Your Dog’s Anti-Worm Meds are the Cure
The title almost says it all on this one. In April 2021, Rogan spoke to comedian Dave Smith and mentioned that he’d been listening to podcasters Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying. On their show, the pair has promoted the drug ivermectin as a potential preventative and cure for COVID. Ivermectin is only approved to treat parasitic gut worms, most often in pets, and has yet to show hard evidence of affecting COVID at all. Despite that, Rogan had Weinstein and Heying on his show and voiced his support for their unproven cure. Every major health organization is in agreement that unproven treatments like ivermectin need proper testing before public use, and frankly, their opinion holds just a tad more weight than Rogan’s.
6 The Baby Blood Cure
Let’s give Rogan a break for a minute. Instead of being spread by Rogan, this conspiracy is about him. QAnon, the discredited conspiracy group who makes their home on 8chan (which should tell you enough), stumbled across an old clip from Rogan’s podcast in which he and comedian Whitney Cummings joked about using baby blood as a facial treatment to stay young. The pair’s exchange is clearly all in jest, but QAnon—not known for their senses of humor or nuance—took the conversation literally. The video spread widely, and Q followers began spreading unfounded claims that Rogan is a baby-killer and uses their skin to keep his own looking young. As hard as we may be on Rogan, he is nowhere near the level of Q.
5 Angelina Jolie Caused her own Bell’s Palsy
Rogan has said a few times on his show that he believes Angelina Jolie is crazy. He never seems to say exactly why, other than that she has many adopted children (what?), but one time, in joking about this, he went too far. Jolie has been diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, a nerve condition that causes muscle weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. It can cause sudden, frightening attacks that permanently disfigure the face. Professional wrestling fans will know it as the cause of Jim Ross’s decades-long struggle to speak clearly. On Jolie, Rogan said, “She’s got Bell’s palsy?… That’s the problem with crazy is crazy comes with all sorts of neurotic shit.” His implication that nerve disorders can be fixed by acting normal is a bit weird.
4 Mental Disorders Don’t Exist
That’s not the only time Rogan has weighed in on mental disorders and spread a dubious take on their mechanisms. He has multiple times claimed that ADHD is not a real disorder, one time saying, “Didn’t someone just say that they invented that? And that it’s not real?” Which is, of course, more misinformation on Rogan’s part.
Rogan doesn’t quite believe in the autism spectrum as well. He once said of autism: “I don’t like all these wacky labels when it comes to mental illnesses because I’m not sure I trust them all. ‘He’s on the spectrum.’ Oh, is he really? Can you weigh that? Can you put that spectrum on a scale? Can you make that guy jump in a pool of water, and it reads how autistic he is?” Um, okay, Joe.
3 South African White Genocide
One of the more extremist conspiracies Rogan has propagated is the thoroughly debunked (very-)far-right claim of white genocide in South Africa. The conspiracy claimed that white South Africans were being targeted by black South Africans and murdered as revenge for apartheid. The problem is that the conspiracy was initially circulated by problematic white nationalist group AfriForum, and based on a deliberate misinterpretation of the country’s murder statistics.
In short: South Africa has a frightening problem with violent attacks across the board, and isolating statistics about white citizens while ignoring the rest would certainly make it seem as if a white genocide was occurring. Rogan again was quick to amend his position when experts helped him explicate the data. He tweeted, “The more I’ve looked at it objectively the more I think that violence is just a HUGE problem in general in South Africa and that many people have isolated the statistics on farmers and it makes it seem like they’re being targeted.” Another conspiracy for Rogan, but another humble pivot and honest mea culpa.
2 No Vaccines Necessary
Probably the second biggest controversy for Rogan was his April 2021 assertion that healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated against diseases. At one point, Rogan actively recommended his young listeners not get vaccinated, saying, “If you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I’ll go no.” His reasoning: “If you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well: like, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”
The implication that only sick people need vaccines shows a completely opposite understanding of how vaccines work and what they are for, not to mention ignorance of asymptomatic carriers and the critical necessity for herd immunity. Rogan was quick to (partially) retract his statements after rebukes by health officials, saying, “I’m not a doctor, I’m a f— moron, and I’m a cage fighting commentator… I’m not a respected source of information.”
1 Alex Jones has “gotten so many things right”
This is Rogan’s biggest controversy to date and brought both him and Spotify a huge amount of backlash from numerous outlets. In October 2020, Rogan had conspiracy theorist and noted insane person Alex Jones on his podcast as a guest. Jones is most known for claiming that the government is “putting chemicals in the water that turn the friggin’ frogs gay.” Jones also infamously harassed Sandy Hook victims’ families, parroting a traditional extremist talking point that they were paid “crisis actors.” This cost Jones $126,000 from a defamation suit and led in part to his ban on every major social media platform.
When Rogan had Jones on his program, he gave a voice to someone whom the courts, business sector, and court of public opinion had all deemed necessarily voiceless. Rogan, however, kept on Jones throughout, fact-checking many of his more spurious claims. At some points, Rogan nodded along to Jones’s rhetorical fever-dream, but he was overall diligent about not following Jones too far down the chemically homosexualized rabbit hole.