Joe Rogan may be known for his contributions to the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA), but the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) color commentator and renowned podcast host is one of the most influential celebrity voices in all of America.
With over 7.3 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, which is mostly used to promote and share his famed Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Rogan’s beliefs have the ability to reach a significant amount of people across the world. But that doesn’t mean the UFC commentator and professional comedian is always delivering the right message to the masses, as Rogan has made some very controversial statements over the years, including his derogatory comments about transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox back in 2014.
That’s why Rogan’s recent endorsement of democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has created such buzz.
Sanders, who has been a guest on Rogan’s podcast in the past, took it upon himself to retweet a video earlier this week showing Rogan give his endorsement for Sanders to become the next President of the United States in 2020. Check out the video below via Twitter:
“I think I'll probably vote for Bernie... He’s been insanely consistent his entire life. He’s basically been saying the same thing, been for the same thing his whole life. And that in and of itself is a very powerful structure to operate from.” -Joe Rogan pic.twitter.com/fuQP0KwGGI— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 23, 2020
Rogan’s audience includes people from all backgrounds and political parties so it made sense for Sanders to share the endorsement and try to bring on more supporters before this year’s election. But what was supposed to be a small post boasting the support of one of the biggest voices in social media has turned into controversy for Sanders.
One of the leading groups to take offense to Sanders sharing Rogan’s endorsement is the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group.
“Given Rogan’s comments, it is disappointing that the Sanders campaign has accepted and promoted the endorsement,” Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said in a recent statement (via Washington Post). “The Sanders campaign must reconsider this endorsement and the decision to publicize the views of someone who has consistently attacked and dehumanized marginalized people.”
David went on to add that Sanders has “run a campaign unabashedly supportive of the rights of LGBTQ people,” but that Rogan has “attacked transgender people, gay men, women, people of color and countless marginalized groups at every opportunity.”
While Rogan is free to share any belief he may have on his massive podcast platform it doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with it. That is exactly what is going on here as Sanders is now facing backlash from certain advocacy groups for sharing the comedian’s endorsement.
This may not drastically effect Sanders’ ability to win the primary and represent the democratic party in the upcoming presidential election, but it certainly can’t help.
“The goal of our campaign is to build a multi-racial, multi-generational movement that is large enough to defeat Donald Trump and the powerful special interests whose greed and corruption is the root cause of the outrageous inequality in America,” the Sanders campaign told Vice’s Motherboard in a statement. “Sharing a big tent requires including those who do not share every one of our beliefs, while always making clear that we will never compromise our values. The truth is that by standing together in solidarity, we share the values of love and respect that will move us in the direction of a more humane, more equal world.”