Joe Rogan’s recent crack involving Jews and money reinforced “dangerous” antisemitic tropes, according to leaders from prominent Jewish groups.
Rogan said Feb. 4 on his hugely popular podcast that “the idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza.” (Watch the video below.)
The statement drew widespread condemnation when it went viral this week.
“[Y]ou invoke the same tropes that have been used to persecute Jews for centuries. With an audience of millions, it’s dangerous to be so flippant in trafficking in antisemitic stereotypes,” tweeted American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch, a former Democratic congressman.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt also lashed out at Rogan.
“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,” Greenblatt wrote on Twitter.
“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,” he added.
Rogan, who notably spread misinformation on COVID-19, made the comment on his popular Spotify show, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” during an exchange with fellow podcaster Krystal Ball about an old controversy involving Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
Omar suggested on Twitter in 2019 that politicians’ support of Israel was motivated by money. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar wrote. Critics interpreted her comment as a recycling of the trope that Jewish people control politics through money. She later apologized. (The GOP recently booted Omar off the foreign affairs committee, citing her past comments about Israel.)
“She’s talking about money,” Rogan said earlier this month. “That’s not an antisemitic statement, I don’t think that is. Benjamins are money. The idea that Jewish people are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza. It’s fucking stupid.” Rogan laughed, with Ball agreeing that Omar shouldn’t have apologized.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) called out Rogan and Ball for the remarks.
“It’s despicable language like this that leads to attacks and threats against Jewish people,” he wrote on Twitter. “@JoeRogan has a massive platform and it’s infuriating to watch him and @krystalball promote blatant, dangerous antisemitic tropes, including those masquerading as anti-Israel sentiments.”
The comments are the latest in a disturbing string of public figures promoting antisemitism. In the past few months, Rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, made multiple disparaging remarks about Jews; NBA star Kyrie Irving promoted a movie with false and antisemitic claims; and former President Donald Trump hosted prominent white supremacist Nick Fuentes for dinner.