No stranger to controversy, Joe Rogan this week offered the following generalization about Jews on his massively popular Spotify show: “The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza.”
Rogan was speaking to onetime MSNBC contributor Krystal Ball about Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 2019 tweet that Israel’s defenders in the U.S. were motivated solely by money.
“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” wrote Omar at the time. The tweet drew a swift rebuke from leaders on both sides of the aisle, including then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Omar later recanted, writing, “I unequivocally apologize.”
The Spotify host’s statements this week were part of a conversation about Rep. Adam Schiff.
“It’s crazy,” said Rogan. “Did you see him sitting next to Ilhan Omar, where she’s apologizing for talking about it’s all about the Benjamins? Which is just about money. She’s talking about money. That’s not an antisemitic comment, I don’t think that is. Benjamins are money.”
He continued, “The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s f*ck*ng stupid.”
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt called the comedian’s comments “No joke,” and said he found it “disturbing that at a time of rising anti-Jewish violence, when growing numbers of Americans believe in antisemitic conspiracy theories, @joerogan would use his immense platform to spew antisemitic tropes about Jews and money.”
Explaining further, Greenblatt reminded that, “For centuries, people have used these longstanding tropes to spread vicious lies about the Jewish people. ‘Comedian’ or not, Rogan’s comments are no joke.”
British comedian and novelist David Baddiel observed how disturbing it is “when a racist myth about Jews is just…said, breezily, on one of the biggest podcasts in the world and no-one gives a f*ck.” You can watch the clip with Rogan’s quote in Baddiel’s tweet below.
Co-head writer for The Late, Late Show with James Corden, Ian Karmel, joked that Rogan might go the way of controversial NBA star Kyrie Irving, who has himself come in for criticism from the ADL and others over what they considered anti-Semitic tweets. Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday after a bumpy run with the Brooklyn Nets.
“Joe Rogan to the Mavericks confirmed,” tweeted Karmel.
Rogan has weathered other recent controversies due to vaccine misinformation put forth by some of his guests and his own repeated use of the N-word over the years.
Deadline reached out to Spotify and will add comment when received.
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