As November wears on, Joe Rogan has begun to inhabit, more fully than ever, what can best be described as a double life. On November 16, he appeared on far-right YouTuber Tim Pool’s show, sitting alongside conspiracy king Alex Jones; extremely red-pilled self proclaimed “anarchist” author and podcaster Michael Malice; Drew Hernandez, a right-wing commentator most recently seen testifying at Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial; and Blaire White, another far-right YouTuber. Earlier this month, Rogan also returned from a four-month hiatus to begin working as on-air talent at UFC events again, when he wasn’t busy giving Aaron Rodgers terrible pseudo-medical advice while the quarterback dealt with COVID-19, or suggesting, on his own program, that the January 6 rioters were led by a government-backed agent provocateur. (“This is something governments have done forever,” he breezily told technology ethicist Tristan Harris, suggesting that “one particular individual” encouraged thousands of people to storm the Capitol.) Rogan’s increasingly prominent role in extremist spaces—and as a major promoter of ivermectin, an unproven treatment for COVID-19—is coming into direct confrontation with his role as a mainstream sports commentator and linchpin of Spotify’s podcast empire. And no one making money from the latter half of the equation seems to mind a bit.
Remember when ESPN made Rush Limbaugh an NFL commentator and he was forced out because of his racism? If he had gotten the job a decade later he probably could have kept it the rest of his life.