Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang stood up for Joe Rogan amid backlash over his past use of racial slurs, claiming the embattled Spotify podcast host is “not racist” before deleting his comments.
Yang, 47, on Sunday defended “The Joe Rogan Experience” host, 54, over widespread criticism he’s facing for anti-coronavirus vaccine remarks as well as for using racial slurs almost two dozen times in newly unearthed clips.
“I don’t think Joe Rogan is a racist — the man interacts with and works [with] black people literally all of the time,” Yang tweeted Sunday before deleting it, according to The Hill. “Do I know black friends of Joe’s who would swear by him? Yes I do.”
In 2019, Yang appeared on Rogan’s podcast during his upstart campaign for president. After deleting his initial tweet on the Spotify host, Yang recast his support of Rogan in a series of follow-up messages.
“I like to believe the best of people — especially if I’ve met and spent time with that person,” Yang tweeted early Sunday. “Sometimes it makes me miss something. I think we should have the capacity to forgive people — whether a podcaster or a mayor — if they mess up. Maybe it’s because I mess up too.”
Yang acknowledged that racism is “real, deep, corrosive and even lethal,” saying he deleted his prior tweet because it “downplayed these realities.”
“I deleted the tweet because it was wrong-headed,” Yang continued. “I also hurt people, which is never my intent. I’m sorry. I’m learning and appreciate those who reached out to express their feelings.”
Yang then cited his recent campaign while calling for more empathy from others.
“I like to believe the work I’ve done these past years had the goal of uplifting everyone, particularly those on the outside looking in for any reason, be it poverty or marginalization or race,” Yang tweeted. “I’ve always wanted to help those with the least the most.”
“I’m going to keep doing all I can for a more fair, equitable and just country,” Yang wrote. “That means for everyone. Universal Basic Income, Democracy Reform and unity are how we get there.”
A day earlier, Yang called for a “statute of limitations” on statements, although it’s unclear whether he was specifically referring to Rogan, who won’t be canceled after the clips of the podcaster using the N-word went viral.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek explained he was standing by Rogan in a letter to employees on Sunday that criticized his comments but stopped shorty of taking action against him.
“Not only are some of Joe Rogan’s comments incredibly hurtful — I want to make clear that they do not represent the values of this company,” Ek wrote in the memo, which was obtained by Axios.
“While I strongly condemn what Joe has said … I realize some will want more,” Ek said.
Rogan removed some of his podcast episodes from Spotify following discussions with the company over “some racially insensitive language,” Ek confirmed in the letter.
Critics, meanwhile, quickly shot back at Yang’s series of tweets about the embattled host.
“I thought you were one of the few who would stand up to the bullies, especially when you know what is right,” one reply read, referring to the blowback Yang received for backing the host. “You know Rogan personally, but I guess the loud whine of the offended class is more important to you.”
Rogan, for his part, did not appear to address Yang’s comments directly, but retweeted an article early Saturday on whether a “morality pill” could help end the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
One eagle-eyed user, however, noted that the August 2020 story wasn’t as Rogan’s retweet billed it.
Rogan’s tweet implies the story’s headline read “Could a ‘Morality Pill’ Help Stop The Covid-19 Pandemic?” but the actual Forbes story written by Paul Hsieh was titled, “No, Don’t Use a ‘Morality Pill’ To Stop the Covid-19 Pandemic.”
“This is the actual headline of that article, why did you use a photoshopped screenshot and not link the article where it says this idea has been thrown around for many years and it’s basically just science fiction,” the reply read. “@joerogan why are you scaring ppl retweeting fake news?”