- Comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan is being accused of spreading misinformation after suggesting during an April 23 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” that young people should not get the COVID-19 vaccine.
- “For the most part, I think it’s safe to get vaccinated,” he said. “But if you’re, like, 21-years-old and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I would go ‘no.’”
- He added that healthy young people who eat well and exercise don’t “need to worry about this.”
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Rogan’s remarks were “incorrect” and added, “you can get infected and will get infected if you put yourself at risk. And even if you don’t have any symptoms, you’re propagating the outbreak.”
Rogan Tells Young People To Not Get Vaccinated
Comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan is facing backlash after suggesting that young people should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
He made the controversial remarks during an April 23 episode of his show, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” A clip of it went viral on Twitter after Media Matters reported on it Tuesday. Rogan has been a trending subject on Twitter since then.
“Yeah, for the most part, I think it’s safe to get vaccinated. I do, I do,” he said while speaking to his guest, comedian Dave Smith. “But if you’re, like, 21-years-old and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I would go ‘no.’
“Are you healthy? Are you a healthy person?” he continued. “Like look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself. If you’re a healthy person all the time 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.”
He later said he found it “crazy” that people want to vaccinate their children and said that when his kids contracted the virus, it was akin to a cold.
His remarks outraged many because while young people might be less likely to die of the virus than elderly populations, they can still get serious cases of COVID-19. Plenty of young and healthy people who have contracted the virus continue to deal with long-haul symptoms. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, in the first five months of the pandemic, 4,535 Americans aged 25-44 died of COVID-19.
Rogan Faces Backlash For Spreading Misinformation
By Wednesday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, disputed Rogan’s claims on “The Today Show.”
“Well that’s incorrect and the reason why is you’re talking about yourself in a vacuum then,” Dr. Fauci explained. “You’re worried about yourself getting infected and the likelihood that you’re not gonna get any symptoms. But you can get infected and will get infected if you put yourself at risk.”
“You can get infected, and will get infected, if you put yourself at risk.” -Dr. Anthony Fauci responding to podcast host Joe Rogan’s suggestion that young people not get the COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/6E02GI31VV— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 28, 2021
“And even if you don’t have any symptoms,” he continued, “you’re propagating the outbreak because it is likely that you — even if you have no symptoms — that you may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome.”
Dr. Fauci is not the only person to encourage young people to get vaccinated following Rogan’s comments. YouTuber and podcast host Ethan Klein said, “That’s how we stop the spread. Not rocket science guys.”
“The people who watch Joe Rogan’s show are the people we desperately need to vaccinate in order to speed up the end of the pandemic,” wrote Daily Beast editor Molly Jong-Fast. “Joe isn’t just endangering their lives he’s endangering the rest of us too.”
Spotify Credits Some Recent Success to Rogan
Rogan is one of the most popular podcasters in the world and has a far-reaching audience. His show is exclusively hosted by Spotify, and he regularly sits at the top of the platform’s podcast charts. Spotify even credits him with some of its recent successes.
On Wednesday, the company shared its quarterly earnings report. The streaming giant announced its monthly active users went up 24% year-over-year to 356 million, and that its subscribers went up 21% to 158 million.
The report cited the popularity of several pieces of content, first naming Rogan’s podcast.
“The Joe Rogan Experience performed above expectations with respect to new user additions and engagement,” it said.
Spotify has removed other instances of COVID-19 misinformation before. It has also removed a handful of episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” Some have called on Spotify to remove the April 23 episode to limit the spread of Rogan’s message. A source told The Verge that Spotify did review the episode but chose to leave it up because Rogan did not come across as outwardly anti-vaccine and did not make a direct call to action.
Disney Eviscerates Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow” Lawsuit as “Callous,” but Report Suggests Emma Stone and Emily Blunt May Follow Her Lead
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in an uncharacteristically blunt statement that was heavily criticized online.
Johansson/Disney Lawsuit Gets Bitter
Disney has described a recent lawsuit from “Black Widow” actress Scarlett Johansson as “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” but Johansson may have just unleashed what is to become an even bigger legal challenge for the House of Mouse.
At the center of this dispute, Johansson alleges she lost $50 million because Disney opted for a dual streaming/theater release of “Black Widow,” which debuted in theaters and for $30 on Disney+ with Premier Access earlier this month.
According to Johansson’s suit, her contract with Disney — which was negotiated prior to any hint of a pandemic — stipulated that “Black Widow” would see an exclusive theater release. Notably, the actress also said her contractual bonuses were tied to the movie’s box office performance, which is an extremely common practice with films featuring A-list celebrities.
Of course, when the pandemic hit — like many other industries — movies were upended. Pandemic-related changes meant that despite having an initial release date of May 2020, Marvel fans wouldn’t get a chance to see “Black Widow” for over a year.
Still, Johansson said she tried to contact Disney to renegotiate her contract prior to the film’s ultimate release, but she claims the company was unresponsive.
On Thursday, she then filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, with her attorney arguing that “Disney has enjoyed the benefits of having one of Hollywood’s top actresses promote its wholly owned subscription service at no additional cost to Disney, and with the intended effect of taking money out of that actress’ own pocket.”
Later Thursday, Disney claimed that it has “fully complied” with Johansson’s contract and that the streamed release of the film “has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in its uncharacteristically blunt statement.
Are Emma Stone and Emily Blunt Next?
Speaking of blunt, it was reported Friday that both Emily Blunt and Emma Stone may also file lawsuits against Disney’s dual streaming release of their films.
In fact, according to an exclusive newsletter run by former Hollywood Reporter Editor Matt Belloni, Stone “is said to be weighing her options” over the dual release of “Cruella” in May. Meanwhile, he suggested Blunt could also take action or speak out following this weekend’s release of “Jungle Cruise.”
Belloni went on to describe Disney as “notoriously difficult to deal with” regarding such matters and claimed that many have simply been waiting for someone powerful enough to speak out.
Disney Criticized for Its Response
Much of the public perception of the situation has led to overwhelming support for Johansson’s camp. Online, a slew of people lambasted Disney’s response, with many calling it a deflection.
See what others are saying: (ScreenRant) (Newsweek) (Variety)
Candace Owens and Logan Paul in Talks to Debate
A spokesperson confirmed to Insider Wednesday that the two have had “productive” conversations about the prospect offline.
Candace Owens Challenges Logan Paul to a Debate
Right-wing commentator Candace Owens and controversial YouTuber Logan Paul are in talks to engage in a political debate. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
Owens — best known for making false claims about the George Floyd protests, spreading COVID-19 misinformation, and seemingly saying that Adolf Hitler “just wanted to make Germany great” — first challenged Paul to a debate on Friday. It started with her sharing a year-old clip from Paul’s podcast where he spoke about the importance of fighting racism in the United States.
“It is not enough to be ‘not racist.’ You have to be anti-racist,” he said.
“If you’re white, if you look like me, use your privilege,” he added. “And for those who do not think white privilege exists, you are fucking blind.”
Because merely acknowledging the existence of racism appears to go against Owens’ core beliefs, she asked Paul to duke it out with her.
“Logan loves to challenge people in the boxing ring,” she wrote. “I’d like to publicly challenge him to go a few rounds with me in a political debate. @LoganPaul—how about you stop by my show and explain to me how you’re *checks notes* more privileged than me because you’re white and I’m not?”
Spokesperson Confirms The Two Are in Talks
Paul — best known for launching a boxing career and filming a YouTube video that showed a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest” — said on Tuesday that he was “perplexed” by the offer, but was taking it seriously.
“I started to entertain this action, I ended up speaking with her, and there may be a future where we sit down and have a civil discourse because I think there’s some meat on this bone,” he said during the most recent episode of his “ImPaulsive” podcast.
The internet star acknowledged that Owens’ main arena is politics, while his main arena is being a “fucking idiot” online. Still, he said he does care about these issues and has a “semi-intelligent brain,” so he thinks he could “hold [his] own.”
“Candace Owens, whether you can admit it or not, is a smart person,” Paul continued. “And so I guess I’m just curious because I just fucking fundamentally disagree with her and again, I think there’s room for a conversation.”
A spokesperson for Owens confirmed to Insider on Wednesday that the two had a “productive” offline conversation and said a public political debate between the two is “very likely.”
“Although both of them disagree on a variety of topics, they are both much more interested in learning from one another and think people would benefit from hearing an honest discussion between two parties rather than a ‘gotcha’ moment that might play well for social media,” the spokesperson added.
See what others are saying: (Insider)
Finneas Slams Billie Eilish Troll Account for Attributing Fake Quotes to the Singer
Eilish’s big brother said the account is spreading “relentless lies” and asked that it at least label itself as a satire account.
Troll Account Shares Fake Billie Eilish Quotes
Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas took to Twitter Tuesday to address an account that has been sharing fake quotes attributed to his sister.
The account uses the handle @BilliesUpdatess and goes by the name of “Billie Eilish Updates” in its profile. It was created in July of 2021 and as of Wednesday morning, it had amassed a following of 1,100 people. On a quick glance, it looks just like any other update account a fan might make to share news about their favorite celebrity.
@BilliesUpdatess, however, is far from the standard adoring fan page. Of the over 300 tweets it has posted, several include screenshots of forged articles that make it look like Eilish said something either offensive or totally outlandish. One post claims Eilish defended her boyfriend after he was accused of supporting former president Donald Trump.
“At the end of the day, I fucking love him you know?” the phony statement reads. “It doesn’t matter if he made some homophobic comments in the past, people change. If he [Matthew] supports Donald Trump then I don’t care if it makes him happy. I support EVERY decision Mathew has to make, even the ones some of my fans don’t agree with, like maybe some of his icky comments.”
In another sham passage, Eilish says she thinks queerbaiting “is a really good thing!” In several others, the person behind the account comes up with artificial quotes to make it looks like Eilish is feuding with “driver’s license” singer Olivia Rodrigo.
One post with a fake article ended up being retweeted 12,000 times. That tweet included Eilish claiming she longs to be poor.
“When I got rich, I started balling my eyes out,” the fake piece says. “I wanted to be poor so I can relate to most of my fans. I still want to be broke and poor, it looks really fun and cute.”
Finneas Slams Account
As the troll account started to gain traction, Finneas asked that people report and block it to minimize the spread of its “relentless lies.”
On Tuesday, he responded to a fan that tagged him in the @BilliesUpdatess tweet alleging his sister wanted to be poor.
“Fake obviously,” Finneas wrote. “Honestly I just wish they’d label this account satire like the onion or something. I have no problem with a joke as long as people know it’s a joke.”
The account made several jokes about the fact that Finneas was calling it out, but it seems Eilish’s big brother got what he asked for. @BilliesUpdatess added “parody account” to its bio and the account was deleted as of Wednesday afternoon.