We arrived in the UK last Wednesday in preparation for this Thursday’s launch, with Russell Brand and Matt Taibbi, of a new global free speech alliance. If you’re in London, please buy your tickets now. Above, I give an update on our efforts to build the anti-censorship movement worldwide in conversation with Britain’s GB News.
This morning we awoke to an explosive new controversy involving Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The triggering event was Kennedy’s appearance last week on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
A vaccine scientist named Peter Hotez yesterday tweeted out a Vice magazine article titled, “Spotify Has Stopped Even Sort of Trying to Stem Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation.”
Hotez, who had appeared before on Rogan’s podcast, tweeted:
It’s really true [Vice author] @annamerlan just awful. And from all the online attacks I’m receiving after this absurd podcast, it’s clear many actually believe this nonsense.
Peter, if you claim what RFKjr is saying is “misinformation” I am offering you $100,000.00 to the charity of your choice if you’re willing to debate him on my show with no time limit.
Joe, you have my cell, my email, I’m always willing to speak with you.
This is a non answer. I challenged you publicly because you publicly quote tweeted and agreed with that dogsh*t vice article. If you’re really serious about what you stand for, you now have a massive opportunity for a debate that will reach the largest audience a discussion like this has ever had. If you think someone else is better qualified, suggest that person.
Joe if you are serious about addressing vaccines + the fact that 200,000 unvaccinated Americans needlessly perished during our awful delta/BA.1 Covid waves (including 40,000 in our state of Texas) because they fell victims to vaccine disinformation: I want to have that discussion.
Again, I’m going to ask you very clearly, are you willing to debate @RobertKennedyJr on my podcast?”
Then, an Atlantic Magazine staff writer named Tom Nichols jumped in:
No medical professional should ever agree to do this. Never. It elevates the conspiracy guy, demeans the medical professional, and will only convince the kooks out there that RFK is right because a real doctor took the time to debate him. Never debate a conspiracy theorist.
To which Rogan replied:
That would be a great suggestion if you could assure that the industry you were representing wasn’t completely captured by heartless monsters who have a history of some of the biggest criminal fines in human history because their deception has cost hundreds of thousands of people their lives. It would be a great suggestion if the industry you were defending didn’t occasionally look at human beings as an opportunity to generate insane wealth regardless of the tragic consequences. But you can’t do that, so… maybe it would be a good idea to have a f***ing debate.
The debate gripped Twitter for several hours. But it was more than mere entertainment. It also raised an important question: why do so many of the same people who demand greater censorship also refuse to debate their critics?
Categories: Tech Censorship