Joe Rogan has come under fire for helping spread misinformation on his podcast.
Spotify reportedly paid $100m (£75m) in 2020 for the rights to The Joe Rogan Experience, which is the streaming service’s top podcast. It would be downloaded almost 200 million times per month.
On the show, the US broadcaster hosts a wide variety of guests who discuss their views on a range of topics – but some episodes have featured false and misleading claims.
Here are four fact-checked.
Claim: A vaccine can alter your genes
Mr Rogan said: ‘It’s not a vaccine, it’s basically gene therapy.’ But this is not true.
None of the Covid vaccines alter your genetic material or your DNA – essentially the cookbook with the instructions on how to build your body.
Vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna harness a different molecule called messenger RNA.
If DNA is the blueprint, RNA is the messenger, delivering instructions to your cells.
In the case of the Covid vaccine, the message sent to your cells is to turn RNA into copies of the virus’ spike protein.
This is what triggers your immune system to start producing antibodies and other cells to fight off the virus.
When the message has been received, the RNA is broken down and eliminated.
Claim: Ivermectin can cure Covid
This claim was made last year during an episode featuring Bret Weinstein, an American author and professor of biology, who said, “Ivermectin alone is capable of driving this pathogen to extinction.”
Many were of very poor quality and in some cases the data had been clearly manipulated.
If you only look at the rigorously conducted studies, there is no evidence that the drug works.
Activists often pick out positive examples and ignore the fact that many countries that rely heavily on ivermectin, such as Brazil and Peru, have had some of the worst death rates from the virus.
The world’s leading medical evidence review experts, Cochrane, concluded based on these reliable trials that there was “insufficient evidence” to recommend the drug.
Claim: If you get vaccinated after having Covid, you are at greater risk of harmful side effects
One of Mr Rogan’s most controversial guests was virologist Robert Malone.
Mr Malone was banned from Twitter in December last year for breaching its Covid misinformation policies. He appeared on Mr. Rogan’s podcast soon after.
Among the misleading claims made in this podcast episode was one suggesting that people vaccinated after having had Covid-19 are at greater risk of adverse side effects.
Following his appearance, more than 270 doctors and healthcare professionals signed a letter to Spotify, calling for Covid misinformation to be addressed.
So far, strong studies have shown that a very small number of conditions – blood clots, heart inflammation – are slightly more likely after certain vaccines, although they are still very rare.
In a British study, researchers found that side effects from the vaccine were more common in those who already had Covid.
However, this study only looked at mild side effects, such as fatigue, chills, and headaches.
Claim: For young people, the health risks of the vaccine are greater than those of Covid
Mr Rogan said: “I don’t think it’s true that there is an increased risk of myocarditis in young people who get Covid-19, compared to the risk from the vaccine.”
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that has been mentioned as a rare side effect of vaccination.
Mr Rogan later corrected himself, but made several other comments suggesting young people should not be vaccinated as they are at low risk of Covid-19.
Certainly young people have a much lower risk of serious illness from Covid, but they are not at zero risk of developing complications.
Covid itself has proven to be a greater risk than vaccines in every age group for which they have been approved.
Vaccines, especially after a booster, can also reduce your chances of catching the virus and therefore passing it on to others.