The Public Outcry Against Joe Rogan Does Wonders for Show’s Numbers


Graphic art featuring the word cancelled | Photo Credit: Pixabay License

Popular podcast host and comedian Joe Rogan has recently found himself in the hot seat. The Joe Rogan Experience, the most popular podcast in America, has been in the spotlight lately for what many would consider to be all the wrong reasons. Rogan – who was at one time a co-host of The Man Show on Comedy Central and host of the controversial Fear Factor – has been chastised for providing COVID vaccine skeptics a platform to spread misinformation, along with repeated use of racial slurs. The podcast host, who at one time made his coin by encouraging contestants to eat animal penis, has faced mounting pressure to be…more responsible? The man who once hosted a show featuring scantily clad girls jumping on trampolines has been asked to re-calibrate his moral compass.

Joe Rogan, however, did not find himself facing a wag of the finger from everyone in the entertainment industry, with comedians Donnell Rawlings and Whitney Cummings coming to his defense. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson showed support for Rogan before changing his stance when a video compilation of the podcast host using the “N-word” numerous times surfaced. The “N-word” would surely be the coup de grace for the disgraced show host. After all, we saw what it did to the career of country artist Morgan Wallen after his own controversy with the red-hot racial slur. To his absolute horror, he could do nothing but sit idly by and watch his album, a mere four weeks old at the time of his drunken stupor, spent a total of ten straight weeks at the #1 position on the Billboard 200. This was after his music was removed from playlists on Apple Music and Spotify. His album, Dangerous, never left the Billboard 200 during 2021.

Wallen was even invited to join rapper Lil Durk for an onstage performance during the MLK (Martin Luther King) Freedom Fest, which took place in Nashville in January of this year.

Months after Joe Rogan signed a massive $100 million deal with Spotify and scrubbed episodes of his podcast from YouTube, many listeners stated that they felt betrayed by the exclusive nature of the deal, vowing never to listen to the show again. In February of 2021, it was reported that Google searches of The Joe Rogan Experience saw a 40% decline. The attention created by the award-winning musicians Graham Nash, Neil Young, and India Arie has served the podcast in the long run, and calls to boycott the streaming giant has seemingly fallen on deaf ears. For the last financial quarter of 2021, the company reported a 40% increase in ad revenue and an 18% increase in subscriptions. Joe Rogan has found a new audience in those who are very openly against “cancel culture” and first-time listeners who were likely never going to check out the show but have been drawn to it because of the recent controversy.

The public outcry, in many ways, can accidentally form a voice that acts as a town crier. People who were on the path of the passersby heard the noise created and are now curiously drawn to the commotion. As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” While the abhorrent use of racial slurs by entertainers is quick to get a lot of publicity, it seems recently that the reward outweighs the risk. Instead of a cancellation, Wallen, Rogan, and others like them are experiencing a type of renewal.