MATTHEWS: Cancel culture takes another ‘L’ as Joe Rogan and Spotify thrive

Joe Rogan is seen during a weigh-in before UFC 211 on Friday, May 12, 2017, in Dallas before UFC 211. ( AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Because cancel culture is so pervasive in this country, anytime someone comes out on top of such attempts is worth documenting for the record. 

In my previous column, I noted how the Washington Post’s recent efforts to cancel the popular conservative “Libs of TikTok” Twitter account by outing the anonymous person behind the account failed big time as the Twitter user now has a full-time paid gig doing what she loves to do in addition to a new Substack page which boasts of “thousands of paid subscribers.” 

Back in February, we also talked about popular podcaster Joe Rogan and the ongoing campaigns that were being conducted by the media, leftists, supposed “medical experts” and Hollywood types such as classic rock artist Neil Young at getting both him and Spotify, the online streaming platform that hosts Rogan’s podcasts, canceled. 

Ostensibly, they wanted Rogan off the air because he was allegedly pushing medical “disinformation” about COVID-19, the vaccine, and alternative treatment options including monoclonal antibodies, vitamin supplements, and ivermectin, the latter of which Rogan said in September 2021 were recommended for him by his doctor to take when he came down with the coronavirus. 

His mention of ivermectin, which in much larger doses is also used as a deworming drug for horses, prompted “news” outlets like CNN to air “report” after “report” mocking Rogan for taking a “livestock drug” or “horse dewormer,” with such outlets leaving out the fact that ivermectin had in fact been previously approved by the FDA for treatment in humans in much smaller doses to treat parasitic infections. 

Rogan angered his critics at the time by not backing down, even inviting on CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who Rogan roasted for his network’s smear campaign against him. During that October interview, Rogan got Gupta to admit that CNN should have clarified that ivermectin could also be used by humans, though Gupta would never outright admit that his colleagues, including anchor Don Lemon, lied about Rogan. 

In an update on the cancel culture campaign against Rogan and Spotify, I’m pleased to inform readers that it hasn’t worked. In fact, according to Rogan, his “subscriptions went up massively” in the midst of his critics’ attacks. He said last Friday that “during the height of it all, I gained two million subscribers.” 

Along with that development has come the equally good news that Spotify has also done well. Per a report from CNN, “Spotify saw its paid memberships increase, and the platform now has 182 million premium subscribers — up from 180 million in the previous quarter and 15% higher year over year, the company said in its first quarter earnings report Wednesday.” 

They also noted that “total revenue was up 24% over last year.” 

Spotify said in a statement that the numbers likely would have been even higher had they not pulled services from Russia after the country’s attack on Ukraine. 

Spotify mostly stood strong with Rogan in the midst of the various media-driven “controversies” drummed up over his broadcast, and remains one of the few online audio/video streaming news and info sites that hasn’t dropped the hammer on those with views that don’t strictly fall in line with official government health edicts. 

It would appear they, like Rogan, Libs of TikTok, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling and others – are laughing all the way to the bank despite the best efforts of The Usual Suspects to shut them down for not adhering to whatever Groupthink mentality is prevailing at the time of their alleged “offenses.”  

Good for them. 

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.