The Rock walks back his support for Joe Rogan over repeated past use of racial slur
Joe Rogan has lost one of his most prominent supporters after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson responded to the popular podcaster's repeated past use of the N-word.
Rogan's been embroiled in a series of controversies since Neil Young spearheaded an exodus of artists from Spotify over Rogan's pattern of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. The streaming service responded by posting "long-standing platform rules" publicly for the first time and adding a content advisory to any podcast that includes a discussion about COVID-19.
Rogan, for his part, posted a 10-minute video to his Instagram defending his statements, but conceded that he would do his best "to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people's perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view."
The Rock was among a handful of celebrities to support Rogan in the aftermath, commenting on his aforementioned Instagram video, "Great stuff here, brother. Perfectly articulated," and adding that he looked forward to "breaking out the tequila" with Rogan on his podcast.
However, the actor and former pro wrestler changed his tune after singer-songwriter India Arie posted a montage of clips featuring Rogan uttering the N-word two dozen times. Arie explained she was pulling her music from Spotify over Rogan's "language around race," and shared another video of Rogan referring to a Black neighborhood as "Planet of the Apes."
Author Don Winslow called out The Rock's support of Rogan following the release of the clips, asking him if he'd ever "actually listened to this man's many racist statements about Black people?"
In his response, The Rock thanked Winslow for alerting him to Rogan's repeated use of the racial slur. "I hear you as well as everyone here 100%. I was not aware of his N-word use prior to my comments, but now I've become educated to his complete narrative," Johnson tweeted. "Learning moment for me."
Representatives for Johnson did not immediately respond to EW's request for additional comment.
After Arie's public rebuke, Rogan again took to Instagram to address his remarks, calling the video "the most regretful and shameful thing I've ever had to talk about publicly."
"It's not my word to use," Rogan continued. "I never used it to be racist, because I'm not racist, but whenever you're in a situation where you have to say 'I'm not racist,' you've f---ed up, and I clearly have f---ed up."
Meanwhile, Spotify quietly removed about 70 episodes of Rogan's podcast on Friday, according to the fan-made website JREMissing, which tracks missing episodes of the podcast.