Spotify’s Joe Rogan baselessly suggests white nationalist Patriot Front rally in DC was “fake” and put on by “the feds”

Joe Rogan: “Where’s the fat people? How come they’re all wearing the same clothes?”

On the December 7 edition of his Spotify podcast, Joe Rogan baselessly suggested that a December 4 rally put on in Washington, D.C., by the white nationalist group Patriot Front was “fake” and claimed that it must have been put on by the “feds.” Rogan repeatedly justified his unfounded claim by pointing out that the attendees wore matching uniforms and were physically fit, saying, “First of all these guys are too slim. ... They’re all in shape. They’re all thin. They’re uniformly marching with flags. I’m like, there’s no way these fucking idiots would be this organized.” 

In reality, more than 100 members of Patriot Front marched through downtown Washington, D.C., on December 4. Nevertheless, right-wing media and figures, along with Republican officials, claimed that the rally was fake, even asserting that the Patriot Front members were “just more movie characters.”

A Snopes fact check rated these claims as “false,” noting that the group’s leader “is a known far-right and fascist activist in the United States, and he was clearly visible and identifiable at the Dec. 4 National Mall rally,” and stating, “Claims that the event was faked or staged, by federal agents or actors, are entirely lacking in evidence, and are contradicted by the best available evidence.”

Nonetheless, Rogan continued his long-standing pattern of spreading right-wing lies and conspiracy theories on his Spotify podcast, asserting, “What the fuck is this? Have you ever seen anything that looks more like feds? Tell me that doesn't look like feds.” 

He also noted that a Twitter account that shared news of the event was seemingly fake. According to The Washington Post, “the Twitter account that announced the march wasn’t real, anti-hate group and disinformation researchers say.” It continued:

The small march — about 100 people — and the attention it generated, experts said, displayed the ways hate groups such as Patriot Front use the nation’s capital as a backdrop for propaganda materials and manipulate social media to their advantage.

“It shows how a small troupe of fascists in uniform can … exploit the loopholes around a social media company like Twitter and absolutely make themselves look much more fearsome, look much more scary,” said Michael Edison Hayden, senior investigative reporter and spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center, “and give themselves a much better shot at getting the mainstream coverage they so desperately crave.”

Additionally, the QAnon Anonymous podcast’s host Travis View wrote, “The Twitter account with the AI-face pic that ‘reported’ on the Patriot Front march changed its name to the Patriot Front chant and posted a thread of Patriot Front propaganda under the viral tweet before it was suspended.”

Video file

Citation From the December 7, 2021, edition of Spotify's The Joe Rogan Experience

JOE ROGAN (HOST): Do you guys, are you aware of this new hate group march that was walking, where all these guys were walking with American flags? 

JAMIE VERNON (PRODUCER): Back in the truck, that thing?

ROGAN: What’s that? Yes, they all jumped in the back of a UHaul truck together. There has never been a thing that I’ve ever seen where almost immediately I was like those are feds.

MATT TAIBBI (AUTHOR): Oh, did this happen?

JOE ROGAN: I think, I immediately, like that’s fake. Like my immediate feeling. I looked at them, first of all these guys are too slim. I’m looking at these guys, they’re all in shape. They’re all thin. They’re uniformly marching with flags. I’m like, there’s no way these fucking idiots would be this organized. Then someone did a deep dive on Twitter. I wish I could remember who. But someone did a deep dive on Twitter and found out that the account in which this whole thing went viral is a completely fake account that has no followers and was started about a month ago with an AI-generated face. It’s a fake face as like the profile picture. It’s one of those pictures, they take a bunch of people’s faces and they smoosh it and make this one lady. And then she had a picture of a dog in like one of her Facebook posts. But there’s no engagement. There’s no interaction. The entire account is only a month old, and her post on this somehow or another went viral. And this is what started the sharing of it. But if you look at these people walking down the street with their masks on, all dressed in black, all wearing like essentially a uniform. All holding the same size American flag. And then eventually they all jumped into the back of a UHaul and were carted off at the end of this stupid fucking march. But if you watch this I'm like what are you guys doing?

TAIBBI: Was this supposed to be some like right-wing, QAnon, hate group-type thing?

ROGAN: Exactly. Exactly. And they call themselves the Patriot something or another.

VERNON: Patriot Front.

ROGAN: Patriot Front. You need to see this. We need to see the video. We need to see the video because when you see them marching, you look at them marching, you go, why are these guys in such good shape? Idiots are usually fat. Like there’s some fatness to them. Like they don’t have discipline, right? These are not wise folks that are eating correctly.

TAIBBI: I mean Americans are most usually fat.

ROGAN: Yes. This is uniformly thin and fit looking with the same outfits on, the same flags. Like you're telling me the FBI didn’t know about these people? You’re telling me the FBI is not monitoring fringe groups, and they were not aware these people are this fucking organized. Out of nowhere they pop out with the same size flags, and the same outfit on, goose stepping. They’re walking -- not goose stepping, but walking at the same pace, in a fucking orderly line. Like who organized this? 


ROGAN: Here is it, “uniformed white nationalist group marches on Lincoln Memorial.” CNN is all in on this. They’re like, we are all in on this. Come on, show us. Look at these guys. Look at these guys. Where’s the fat people? How come they’re all wearing the same clothes? Do that again. What the fuck is this? Have you ever seen anything that looks more like feds? Tell me that doesn't look like feds. Right? 

TAIBBI: It’s like the 101st Airborne.

ROGAN: Bro, look at this. These guys are all runners. These guys look like they just got out of BUDS. The fuck out of here. 

TAIBBI: [laughing] They could be real.

ROGAN: Right, they could be real. Listen, Matt Taibbi, I'm an unreliable source, and I'm a comedian. But looking at that I'm calling bullshit. Give me that again.

ROGAN: I mean, maybe they’re real. Maybe they’re real, could be real, but I'm calling bullshit. They have the same fucking sized flags. The same white coloring on their faces, same tan hats on. Get the fuck out of here. 

TAIBBI: And why are they wearing masks by the way?

ROGAN: Because they are cowards, or they’re feds. Right? Did your instinct, when you see that?

TAIBBI: Well, I mean, I'm suspicious of everything. I certainly wouldn’t put that up and be like chilling scene, you know, without looking into it a little bit. 

ROGAN: You think it's real? If it is real --

TAIBBI: I mean it could be. It’s just weird. 

ROGAN: Feel like feds to me. They’re too fit. I know that doesn’t mean that racists can’t exercise. I know racists exercise, folks. Relax. But I’m just saying--

VERNON: They have 42 chapters including Pennsylvania, New Jersey. They’re linked to 

a group called Vanguard America, which gained infamy after the Charlottesville, Virginia, event. They recruit on college campuses with flyers, conduct flash protests, and even commit acts of vandalism. 

ROGAN: Jesus. 

TAIBBI: Could be. I mean, who knows. There’s enough assholes in America for it to be possible, just not -- I don't know if they would all be thin like that.

Rogan’s podcast is broadcast exclusively on Spotify and was the most popular podcast on the platform in 2021 and 2020. As The Washington Post has noted, “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, Rogan reaches nearly four times as many people as prime-time cable hosts such as Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.” Despite Rogan repeatedly espousing misinformation and bigotry to his large audience, Spotify has refused to take any action to quell Rogan’s sexist, racist, and harmful commentary.