After COVID vaccine advocate Dr. Peter Hotez tried to smear popular podcaster Joe Rogan as a “neofascist” while calling for Spotify to censor him, Rogan challenged Hotez to debate Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — offering him a huge payday for charity if he agrees.
Hotez, a self-described “internationally-recognized physician-scientist in neglected tropical diseases and vaccine development,” became well known during the COVID pandemic as a “shill” for COVID vaccines — appearing on numerous mainstream networks to push the vaccines for all ages.
On Saturday morning, the COVID vaccine advocate tweeted out an article from far-left outlet Vice entitled: “Spotify Has Stopped Even Sort of Trying to Stem Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation.”
“And from all the online attacks I’m receiving after this absurd podcast, it’s clear many actually believe this nonsense,” Hotez wrote in the tweet.
Spotify Has Stopped Even Sort of Trying to Stem Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation. It’s really true @annamerlan just awful. And from all the online attacks I’m receiving after this absurd podcast, it’s clear many actually believe this nonsense https://t.co/GwIFsOODC2
— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) June 17, 2023
The Vice article Hotez shared included attacks on Rogan for his recent interview with Kennedy, a skeptic of the COVID mRNA vaccines, on his Spotify podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
In the article, the Vice writer claimed that Rogan’s interview with Kennedy was filled with “unchecked vaccine misinformation, some conspiracy-mongering about 5G technology and Wi-Fi, and, of course, Rogan once again praising ivermectin, an ineffective faux COVID treatment.”
The writer went on to claim that the episode promoted “Kennedy’s most dangerously incorrect views, a far too extensive list to outline in full, all of which Rogan accepted uncritically, his mouth quite often literally agape in awe.”
Rogan responded to Hotez’s attempts to smear him, challenging the COVID vaccine advocate to a debate with Kennedy.
“Peter, if you claim what RFK Jr. 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,” the podcast host tweeted.
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. https://t.co/m0HxYek0GX
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) June 17, 2023
In a tweet that was immediately deleted, Hotez demanded $50 million instead.
“Be serious Joe, that’s what you throw out for your hunting buddies on a weekend. $50 million endowment (which You/Spotify/RFK Jr. can easily afford), not for me but so we can continue making low-cost patent-free vaccines for the world’s poor. Preceded by RFK Jr.’s public apology,” he wrote in the since-deleted tweet.
Hotez then gave what Rogan described as a “non-answer,” tweeting: “Joe, you have my cell, my email, I’m always willing to speak with you.”
His refusal to agree to the debate was met with mockery from numerous Twitter users, and Rogan once again responded with a strong condemnation of Hotez.
“This is a non-answer. I challenged you publicly because you publicly quote tweeted and agreed with that dogs**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,” he tweeted.
“To those misunderstanding what he’s saying, he’s NOT agreeing to debate @RobertKennedyJr. He’s just offering to come on my show by himself,” Rogan added.
This is a non answer. I challenged you publicly because you publicly quote tweeted and agreed with that dogshit 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… https://t.co/g1FGalC0Ym
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) June 17, 2023
Rogan then shared a screenshot of another since-deleted tweet from Hotez in which the doctor, who was attempting to be friendly with Rogan in the current tweet exchange, attacked him as a “neofascist.”
In the May 2023 tweet, Hotez claimed that he was “concerned” about what he called a “pretty formidable coalition with neofascist leanings” — which included Rogan, Kennedy, Twitter CEO Elon Musk, and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
“Are you sure I’m not a part of a coalition with neofascist leanings? Seems like that’s what you really think, or what you’re projecting to the masses,” Rogan wrote.
The tweet from Hotez that Rogan was responding to read: “I’m happy to come on and clear the air. I respect you and your show. I don’t want an adversarial relationship, I think we can work well together.”
Are you sure I’m not a part of a coalition with neofascist leanings? Seems like that’s what you really think, or what you’re projecting to the masses. https://t.co/dJVsvefZun pic.twitter.com/2fzZax57aR
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) June 18, 2023
Meanwhile, Kennedy accepted the challenge almost immediately, tweeting: “Peter. Let’s finally have the respectful, congenial, informative debate that the American people deserve.”
Peter. Let’s finally have the respectful,congenial,informative debate that the American people deserve.
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) June 17, 2023
Many other prominent Twitter users began pledging more money to the debate — including journalist and podcast host Tim Pool, who offered another $100,000. According to some estimates, the total amount being offered to a charity of Hotez’s choice is more than one million dollars as of Sunday evening.
I am literally offering $100k into a total pot of $1.52m in a desperate attempt to get the experts to debunk misinformation.
We are begging them to disprove it but they won't even try https://t.co/BIHMlxrJpu
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) June 18, 2023
Musk also joined in on the conversation, sending a sarcastic tweet that read “Maybe @PeterHotez just hates charity,” and another tweet in which he argues that Hotez is “afraid of a public debate because he knows he’s wrong.”
He’s afraid of a public debate, because he knows he’s wrong
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 17, 2023
In response to Musk calling him out, Hotez claimed that “vaccine misinformation” caused many deaths in the U.S. and in his home state of Texas.
“Seriously Elon? This is monstrous. 200,000 Americans needlessly perished (including 40,000 Texans, our neighbors) because they were victims of antivaccine disinformation during our awful Covid delta/BA.1 waves in 2021-22. Please don’t do this,” he wrote.
The Twitter CEO responded by providing a detailed explanation of his views on the COVID vaccine and the side effects that he experienced — while encouraging Hotez to agree to the debate.
“First of all, I am generally pro-vaccine. I have been vaccinated against pretty much everything, as have my kids. Second, I think there is tremendous promise in synthetic mRNA. It is like medicine going from analog to digital. That said, the world obviously went crazy with excess vaccination against ‘Covid-19.’ I have that in quotes because the RNA sequences changed so much that I called it the virus of Theseus. So many people I know had serious side effects from the vaccines, including myself. Failure to acknowledge that is a lie. As for the deaths you claim are due to COVID-19, why is the nation of Sweden still alive!? Just go on Rogan and do the debate,” Musk wrote.
First of all, I am generally pro vaccine. I have been vaccinated against pretty much everything, as have my kids.
Second, I think there is tremendous promise in synthetic mRNA. It is like medicine going from analog to digital.
That said, the world obviously went crazy with… pic.twitter.com/lQkqY8uvgT
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 18, 2023
Hotez has appeared on “The Joe Rogan Experience” in the past, and was challenged to debate Kennedy by Rogan — though the doctor refused to do so, instead deflecting by comparing the Democrat presidential candidate to a “Holocaust denier.”
“He’s an attorney, he is very clever!… what am I? Im just a scientist…”
— aussie17 (@_aussie17) June 18, 2023
Rogan also pressed Hotez during the interview on his constant push for vaccination while he ignores important factors such as diet and exercise. Hotez admitted that he was a “junk foodaholic,” which prompted criticism from Rogan that there is a “large body of data that connects poor diet to a host of diseases.”
The vaccine-obsessed doctor later claimed that he doesn’t think vitamins are “needed,” but immediately added that “you still need your vaccines.”
.@JoeRogan grills Dr. Peter Hotez for exclusively promoting vaccines while disregarding exercise, vitamins, and a healthy diet:
"There's a large body of data that connects poor diet to a host of diseases… You don't think vitamins are needed while you eat junk food?" pic.twitter.com/5RNmAEReTf
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) June 18, 2023