Joe Rogan has been a commentator for the UFC. These days, most people know him for his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, which is one of the most popular podcasts on Spotify. While he claims he is not anti-vaccinations, and believes that most people should get vaccinated, he recently suggested that young and healthy people don’t need them. This comment has sparked up plenty of debates online. Eventually, it got a response from Dr. Anthony Fauci, who says this advice is dangerous. Now, Joe Rogan feels he is under attack from the “click bait” media.
Let’s begin with what Joe Rogan said in the first place. He said, “Are you a healthy person? Like, look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself.” He outlined that if a person is young, healthy, ate healthy foods, and regularly exercised, they did not need “to worry about this”. This last part of his comments is particularly confusing. After over a year of quarantines, adjusting to wearing masks, many deaths, the realities of long COVID, and everything else the world is facing, to suggest that young people don’t have to worry about it is, to put it lightly, mind-boggling. A lot of young people may be doing their best to adjust and deal with the situation, but it seems unlikely there are many people who haven’t had to worry about it on some level.
Of course, what Joe Rogan means by suggesting that young people shouldn’t have to worry about it is that they shouldn’t give too much thought to having to take a vaccine against an infectious and deadly virus. That this isn’t going to affect them the way it does unhealthy and older people. UNICEF disagrees with this. Their data shows particular concerns about the mental health of young people globally.
Meanwhile, these comments made their way to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was not impressed by Joe Rogan’s attitude. Fauci responded publicly to this notion, saying, “If you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that’s OK.” He then said that young people who care about infecting others will want to take the vaccine. The doctor suggested that by taking the vaccine, young people could avoid spreading the deadly virus.
Joe Rogan acknowledged that Fauci had a point about needing to take the vaccine for the sake of others, but also said that was “a different conversation”. He then clarified that he is not “anti-vax”, that he believes they are safe, and that he encourages many people to take them. He did a lot of defending himself and insisting that the media was attacking him. Rogan said that the situation has gotten out of hand due to “click bait” media coverage.
What’s particularly interesting about Joe Rogan backing up his comments on this, is that he basically argues that no one should be listening to him. Meanwhile, his job is to, uh, talk. And to do so in a way that makes audiences listen. Perhaps by saying “click bait” inducing statements. Basically, he makes it sound as though he is now a victim of the attention he works so hard to get. While backing up his comments, he said that he is not a doctor, but in fact, a “moron”. That he is a “cage-fighting commentator”, and added, “I am not a respected source of information.” This sounds like something Dr. Fauci could agree with.
And yet, Joe Rogan continues to talk, sharing information, while not wanting to be responsible for what happens next. Still, he only seems aware of the consequences he is directly facing. Rogan is aware that people are now telling him he said something irresponsible, and he doesn’t like how that makes him look. He doesn’t yet seem aware of more serious consequences of suggesting that people don’t take vaccines, like people dying of COVID-19.
When you sign up to be an influencer, aren’t you responsible for what you influence people to do? Joe Rogan’s insistence that he shouldn’t have to take responsibility for his vaccination comments suggests he lacks an understanding of social responsibility, something his suggestions about young people taking the vaccine echoes. At least he’s consistent.