Joe Rogan has apologized for his past use of the N-word, saying in an Instagram video that it was “the most regretful and shameful thing that I’ve ever had to talk about publicly.”
The host of The Joe Rogan Experience posted the video apology hours after Spotify took down 70 of his show’s episodes. The removal of at least some of these episodes was apparently due Rogan’s use of racist or other derogatory language. Earlier on Friday, the Grammy Award-winning singer India.Arie highlighted 24 instances in which Rogan used the N-word during episodes of his podcast.
While arguing that Arie’s video was “made of clips taken out of context of me of … 12 years of conversations on my podcast, and it’s all smushed together,” Rogan nonetheless admitted that “it looks fuckin’ horrible, even to me.”
“Now I know that to most people there’s no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that now,” Rogan stated.
“I haven’t said it in years, but for a long time, when I would bring that word up, like if it would come up in conversation, instead of saying ‘the N-word’, I would just say the word. I thought as long as it was in context, people would understand what I was doing.”
Rogan explained that when he used the N-word, he was often quoting old comedians like Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, Paul Mooney, or Lenny Bruce.
“It’s a very unusual word, but it’s not my word to use,” he acknowledged. “I’m well aware of that now, but for years I used it in that manner. I never used it to be racist, ’cause I’m not racist.’ But whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist,’ you fucked up, and I clearly have fucked up.”
Rogan also addressed another clip in which he described Philadelphia as the “Planet of the Apes.” “I was telling a story in the podcast about how me and my friend Tommy and his girlfriend, we got really high, we’re in Philadelphia, and we went to go see Planet of the Apes.
“We didn’t know where we were going, we just got dropped off by a cab, and we got dropped off in this all-Black neighborhood. And I was trying to make the story entertaining and I said: ‘We got out, and it was like we were in Africa, like we were in Planet of the Apes.
“I did not, nor would I ever, say that Black people are apes, but it sure fuckin’ sounded like that. And I immediately afterwards said: ‘That’s a racist thing to say.’
Rogan said he hopes this latest controversy can be a “teachable moment for anybody that doesn’t realize how offensive that word can be coming out of a white person’s mouth, in context or out of context.”
“My sincere and humble apologies. I wish there was more that I could say. All of this is just me talking from the bottom of my heart.”
Over the last weeks, Rogan has also faced scrutiny for spreading COVID-19 misinformation. In a previous Instagram video, he pledged to “balance things out” and “research topics” before pressing record.