Podcast host Joe Rogan and his guest Douglas Murray discussed whether acceptance of trans people signals “the end of America,” and Rogan said he finds it “repulsive” that trans women participate in sports during his show, which is hosted by platforms including Spotify and Youtube. Rogan has a history of spreading anti-trans rhetoric on his influential podcast, but Spotify has defended its decision to keep anti-trans episodes online.
On the September 17 edition of The Joe Rogan Experience, Murray, associate editor of The Spectator, claimed that acceptance of trans people is “an end-of-empire discussion. At the end of every empire they get interested in sexual fluidity, hermaphrodite, and so on.” Murray continued that trans issues “will be seen to be a late-empire, a bad sign of things falling apart.” Rogan responded, “That is fascinating that at the end of empires they get really concerned with gender, and hermaphrodites, and those things.”
Murray also demeaned nonbinary people, saying that identity “is a brilliant one if you wanted to pull apart society because, again, get people to pretend that men and women don't exist. Get people to pretend that one of the things that we’ve all known from the beginning doesn't exist, and you can do all of the other stuff, too. It’s a brilliant one to demoralize people on.” He said this will make people “just doubt everything.”
Rogan responded, “I don't think people are doing that on purpose with the specific goal of eroding society.” Murray said that some people are doing so, including politicians, particularly to criticize capitalism. Rogan agreed that “those people are using it,” also saying, “It’s another thing that demands compliance.”
Rogan said that he “didn't have a lot of experience with trans people” nor concerns about them until he heard about a trans woman competing in mixed martial arts. “We’ve crossed over to the other side, where you can just say anything,” he added. “You can say a man who sticks his penis in a woman, ejaculates inside of her, gets her pregnant, has a baby, was never a man.”
He also compared trans athletes to a child whose parents decided to inject them “with testosterone from the time she was a baby and just making her the perfect killing machine.” He concluded that allowing trans women to participate in sports is “repulsive.”
During the same episode, Rogan pushed a debunked conspiracy theory that “left-wing people” are “lighting forest fires” on the West Coast.
Rogan is one of the most influential podcast hosts in the world, and he has frequently used his platform to demean and spread misinformation about trans people. Spotify has faced internal pressure to remove Rogan’s anti-trans episodes from its platform, with Vice reporting that LGBTQ employees and allies at Spotify felt “unwelcome and alienated because of leadership’s response.”
In May, Rogan signed an exclusive licensing agreement worth more than $100 million with Spotify, where 11 years of his show as well as new episodes began streaming on September 1. Notably, numerous past episodes featuring right-wing guests were not uploaded to Spotify’s library, including interviews with far-right bigot Milo Yiannopoulos and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Both Spotify and YouTube, which also hosts Rogan’s interviews alongside other streaming platforms, have bans on hateful content on the basis of gender identity. According to Vice, a Spotify spokesperson determined that flagged episodes of Rogan’s show “did not meet the criteria for removal from our platform." YouTube has previously taken action against videos for anti-trans attacks.