Joe Rogan Challenges Vaccine ‘Champion’ To Debate Robert Kennedy Jr.
Joe Rogan looks on during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida.
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

UFC commentator and comedian Joe Rogan invited a health expert to debate Robert Kennedy Jr., a Democratic Party candidate for president, about vaccines on his popular podcast in exchange for a $100,000 donation to charity.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, lashed out in response to Rogan speaking to Kennedy about vaccine efficacy and safety during a recent interview on “The Joe Rogan Experience” on Spotify.

Hotez, who is also a director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, was recognized as a “vaccine champion” by the American Medical Association last year for his work advocating for vaccines, particularly during the COVID pandemic.

On Saturday, Hotez tweeted a link to a Vice article, “Spotify Has Stopped Even Sort of Trying to Stem Joe Rogan’s Vaccine Misinformation,” tagging the author and saying the report was “really true” and “just awful.”

He added: “And from all the online attacks I’m receiving after this absurd podcast, it’s clear many actually believe this nonsense.”

Rogan replied from his verified Twitter account. “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,” Rogan said.

“Peter. Let’s finally have the respectful, congenial, informative debate that the American people deserve,” Kennedy said in a reply.

In a quote tweet response to Rogan, Hotez said, “Joe, you have my cell, my email, I’m always willing to speak with you.”

Rogan shot back, saying Hotez’s tweet was a “non-answer” to his challenge.

“I challenged you publicly because you publicly quote tweeted and agreed with that dogs*** vice article,” Rogan added. “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.”

The back-and-forth continued with Hotez quote-tweeting a longer response to Rogan.

“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,” Hotez said.

“And I’m open to a number of different options, but to be pressured to give you an answer on Twitter, now, with a ‘take it or leave it’ demand that’s not how I work. Honestly, I don’t even think that would be in your best interests,” Hotez continued. “I’m happy to come on and have a meaningful discussion. I respect you and your show and I don’t want an adversarial relationship. I think we can make some progress.”

Rogan kept up the pressure. “Again, I’m going to ask you very clearly, are you willing to debate [Kennedy] on my podcast?” he asked.

“To those misunderstanding what he’s saying, he’s NOT agreeing to debate [Kennedy],” Rogan said in another tweet. “He’s just offering to come on my show by himself.”

Hotez started engaging with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who jumped into the fray by claiming that the doctor is “afraid of a public debate, because he knows he’s wrong.”


“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 said in response to Musk.

As the conversation continued, Hotez summarized his position in a separate pair of tweets.

“Let’s remember what this is about, not a small number of Americans lost their lives from antivaccine disinformation during the pandemic. 200,000 Americans perished, 40,000 from my State of Texas I have nothing personal vs Joe, Elon, RFK Jr. Just hoping to halt more destruction,” he said. “Not easy to respond when those 3 gang up and tag team. Wish I could be more eloquent and clever when the moment demands, but there you are..”

In an effort to convince Hotez to agree to a debate, others began to pledge additional donations to the charity, including hedge fund manager Bill Ackman and tech entrepreneur Steve Kirsch, bringing the total possible amount to at least $600,000.

It remains to be seen whether Hotez will appear on Rogan’s show and debate Kennedy.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Joe Rogan Challenges Vaccine ‘Champion’ To Debate Robert Kennedy Jr.