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Joe Rogan sent pre-suit cease by doctor he targeted over fake vaccine tweet
Time to lawyer up, you MAGA moron
Joe Rogan may finally be getting what he deserves - a lawsuit. Spotify’s top podcaster (by listener count, not content) was served a pre-suit cease by the lawyer representing Dr. Natalia Solenkova, the physician he targeted on his show over a poorly done fake tweet.
As has been widely reported (Forbes, NBC News, LA Times, Vice, The Daily Beast, NY Post), Rogan spent 11 minutes discussing a tweet pretending to be the Florida intensive care physician with Bret Weinstein leading to a wave of targeted hate to the innocent doctor. We contributed to the NBC piece by Brandy Zadrozny with the following in support of Dr. Solenkova:
Online harassment has become increasingly common for doctors during the pandemic, according to Dr. Ali Neitzel, a physician researcher who studies misinformation.
“The targeting of individual physicians is a well-worn tactic,” Neitzel said. “But this cheaply done fake — trying to frame a doctor who is doing unpaid advocacy work — that’s a new low.”
Neitzel said that she sees the use of fake tweets like the one that targeted Solenkova as a sign of desperation among anti-vaccination activists who have struggled to advance a false narrative about vaccines being unsafe.
“And demonizing an outspoken doctor gives them the enemy they’re looking for,” she said.
The tweet in question - with font irregularities and clocking in at a full 53 characters over the 280 Twitter limit - was posted by Paul Ray Ramsey aka “Ramzpaul”. Ramsey is a white supremacist on the radar of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
It appears Ramsey may have not only posted the fake tweet but created it. Amid the backlash to this very sloppy smear campaign, Ramsey is distancing himself from the origins and reportedly “crapping himself” with fear. Good. Hopefully former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis who also fell for the cheap fake is feeling nervous - or at least a little less smug - as well. Neither fixes the trauma of being attacked in this way for Dr. Solenkova.
The tweet, falsely calling the Covid vaccines “poison”, made its round through the far-right before being picked up by Rogan who is, by his account, “not MAGA”.
He’s just helped platform and amplify the entire MAGA Covid anti-public health movement that originated with Trump.
In fact, The Joe Rogan Experience was just a stop on the MAGA tour for disinformation doctors like Robert Malone, Peter McCullough, and Pierre Kory who all appeared on Senator Ron Johnson’s VAERS dumpster dive called a “Second Opinion Panel” and Steve Bannon’s “War Room: Pandemic” podcast.
Conspiracy loving Rogan’s Covid-era slide into far-right extremism was so swift that he launched “Defeat the Mandates” with these disinformation doctors in Washington, D.C. just seven months after calling Trump “fucking dangerous” and his insurrectionists a “bunch of morons”.
Apparently, the D.C. location was not a tip off to 55-year old adult man Rogan that he was joining the very same crowd of morons. For a man with opinions on everything, he stayed mighty silent on Stop the Steal turned Defeat the Mandates speaker Del Bigtree’s calls for “Nuremberg 2.0” for doctors, politicians, and journalists who promote the vaccines. He has not used his platform to discuss insurrectionist physician-attorney Simone Gold and we know he’s comfortable trashing female physicians. Discussing either would not serve Rogan in his continued attempts at face saving and self-promotion, which is his apparent “journalistic” focus.
This case is much bigger than intellectually small Rogan, who has been a useful moron for the larger MAGA movement. In his shamelessness he has made himself a rather useful idiot example for those of us promoting science based medicine and truth based politics. So here we go.
Joe Rogan was warned by Dr. Peter Hotez that the anti-vax lobby “owns the internet”…in March 20219
Rogan has a long history of fuck ups, little accountability
This is far from the first time Rogan has had to issue an apology for his misuse of mega platform. As we have discussed previously, he “apologized” for platforming anti-vaxxers last year but went on to simultaneously brag about the bump in listeners the controversy brought him and claim the backlash he received was a “political hit job”. He continues to platform anti-vaxxers like Bret Weinstein who participated in the episode attacking Dr. Solenkova.
Prior to Covid, Rogan has issued apologies. Per Forbes, “Despite being a firm believer in climate change, Rogan famously spread misinformation about deadly wildfires in California being deliberately ignited by leftists. Upon discovering the truth, Rogan admitted that he had been “very irresponsible,” having not researched the story before broadcasting it to his audience.” He’s claimed he’s sorry but has never been forced to learn from his mistakes. Or hire a research team.
Spotify has prioritized JRE profits despite many raised alarms
Spotify has ignored appropriately-voiced concerns about Rogan’s antics from his anti-vaccine platforming (see: concerns voiced by scientists in Rolling Stone, as well as polio survivors Neil Young and Joni Mitchell leaving the platform in protest) to his observable misogyny (see: concerns raised by Brene Brown) and racism (see: concerns raised by India Arie). Rogan is their top podcaster and their failure to adequately handle his behavior has emboldened it to worsen. They are very much complicit in getting to this point.
A Rogan apology is meaningless
The JRE host issued an extremely vague apology to “the person who got hoaxed”. He has not called off his rabid fans from their ongoing attacks on the doctor or made efforts to have the clip deleted from Twitter accounts that followed his lead. To date, the clip is still up on Twitter and driving hate at Dr. Solenkova. There are real implications for fuck ups like this, and Rogan does not seem to understand the gravity of the situation. Perhaps this lawsuit will finally shake the Alex Jones of Covid awake.
Twitter is unsafe for those not named - or aligned with - Elon Musk
While new Twitter czar Elon Musk has made a big deal out of suspending accounts that impersonate him, this incident was not deemed a violation of the app’s terms and services, per Dr. Solenkova. When Musk dropped Twitter’s Covid disinformation policy, we voiced concerns over what this would mean for doctors who speak up for the overwhelming majority of physicians who follow the data and are vaccinated. Shortly after, Musk confirmed those fears by tweeting for Dr. Anthony Fauci’s prosecution.
Despite years of vaccine safety data, they are still being used to stoke division
The mRNA vaccine is carrying a culture war for a desperate GOP, despite years of data to counter their paper-thin arguments. Media efforts like those from Fox “News”, the “Died Suddenly” film, and such nods of approval from everyman cult hero Joe Rogan make it appear as if there is more uncertainty than there actually is in the scientific community. In reality, it is an extremely small faction of bad acting scientists driving this division. The real world implications have been avoidable Covid death and injury, a resurgence in vaccine-preventable pediatric diseases like measles and chickenpox, and danger to innocent doctors who speak out - something we understand extremely well here.
We look forward to helping Dr. Solenkova and her team with this case.