Comedian and popular podcast host Joe Rogan mocked the media for taking him seriously when he cracked a joke over the summer suggesting that it would be acceptable in Los Angeles to “shoot the homeless.”
Rogan, who made the comment to fellow comedian Tom Segura during a July episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” was talking about the growing homelessness crisis in Los Angeles in conjunction with the city’s failure to crack down on violent crime.
The conversation began with Segura, who pointed out that homeless camps were considered “personal property” and therefore it was illegal to remove them.
“You’d get arrested. Hilarious. But they wouldn’t arrest you if you shot somebody. Maybe you should just go shoot the homeless people,” Rogan replied — and the clip quickly went viral, generating outrage on social media.
Sickening. Joe Rogan, who’s worth millions, pontificates on the plight of homeless people, then decides the best solution may be just to “shoot the homeless people”. pic.twitter.com/mgBGmarzgP
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) July 19, 2022
Rogan responded to his own comment — and the outrage that followed — during a recent appearance on Segura’s podcast, “2 Bears, 1 Cave.”
His chief complaint with regard to the backlash was that there was an ever-growing list of things that no one was allowed to joke about.
“Oh, my God. The thing that, you know — you probably lose track of this all the time because it happens to you like every day,” Segura replied. “But when I did your podcast last and we talked about homeless people …”
Rogan began to laugh, and Segura continued, “You go, ‘I think we should shoot them.’ And I go, ‘I like your ideas.’ And then news outlets, they took the, it was end quote. It was like, ‘He says this, Rogan says this. Tom says, I like your idea. These guys are endorsing violence against homeless.’ And then they go, ‘And then it happened. A homeless person was killed. And this is what these guys are — this is what these guys are.’”
Rogan responded by reading a headline about his comments: “Under fire for joke intended as political jab.”
“I was under fire? I wasn’t even aware I was under fire. That’s what’s hilarious. I didn’t even have any idea. I didn’t pay attention and didn’t affect me at all,” Rogan continued, voicing surprise when he learned that Segura had actually gotten a number of messages about the comments.
“We should just explain what we actually said. What I actually — what we were actually saying is that if you shot them, no one would care because they don’t do anything about violence,” Rogan continued. “That’s what we’re saying. We weren’t saying you should shoot the homeless people. We were saying like, you can’t touch their stuff.”
Segura kept the segment going, pivoting to another joke that he said would likely get him into just as much trouble. “There’s a huge spike in actual violent crime. And to be clear, I was part of the group that paid to have the homeless people that were on Cesar Chavez in — here in Austin drowned in Lake Travis.”
“Imagine someone saying that they thought that we were serious,” Rogan laughed. “It’s out of context. But all they do is get more people to listen. They don’t understand that they work for you. When they do stuff like that, that’s free advertising.”