Joe Rogan says he is the victim of a "political hit job" amid controversy over resurfaced clips of the popular podcaster using racial slurs and other offensive language.
But the controversial host says he does not regret saying sorry, after former US president Donald Trump chimed in urging the UFC commentator to "stop apologising to the radical left maniacs and lunatics".
The 54-year-old was forced to speak out over the weekend after a "regretful and shameful" compilation clip of him using the N-word almost two dozen times went viral, saying the "out of context" snippets were from "12 years of conversations" on his wildly popular show, The Joe Rogan Experience.
The pressure campaign to force Rogan off Spotify continued on Monday, with a researcher from left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters going viral for sharing a series of clips of the "most hateful things" Rogan had said during recent broadcasts on the streaming platform.
Speaking to comedian Akaash Singh on his Tuesday show, a tired-looking Rogan attempted to make light of the controversy.
"I'm good," he said, when asked how he was.
"You're good? You seem good," Singh laughed.
"If you stay offline, it's just real life – you just have to stay offline," Rogan said.
Singh said: "And real life is people who know you, and you're a great guy."
Rogan said: "Life goes on, as normal. In a lot of ways all this is a relief because that video had always been out there. It's like this is a political hit job, and so they're taking all this stuff that I've ever said that's wrong and smushing it all together. It's good because it makes me address some sh*t that I really wish wasn't out there."
Singh said he was "proud" of Rogan.
"I think comedians have for years done this immature thing where it's like, we don't apologise, we say whatever we want.
"You can apologise if you say some wild sh*t, and we've all said some wild sh*t, and you apologise and own that it's wrong, good for you," he said.
Rogan said you should "apologise if you regret something", but added: "I do think you have to be very careful to not apologise for nonsense."
On Monday, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy confronted three brothers behind MeidasTouch, a Democratic political group some have suggested was behind a co-ordinated campaign to make the Rogan N-word video go viral.
In a livestream with Ben, Brett and Jordan Meiselas, Portnoy said he had "definitive proof" of one of the brothers "using the word in a text conversation with a friend in 2014" – leaving the three looking visibly uncomfortable.
On Monday, Trump weighed into the saga via his Save America PAC.
"Joe Rogan is an interesting and popular guy, but he's got to stop apologising to the fake news and radical left maniacs and lunatics," Trump said.
"How many ways can you say you're sorry? Joe, just go about what you do so well and don't let them make you look weak and frightened. That's not you and it never will be."
Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis had similar advice for Rogan.
"No, he shouldn't have apologised," DeSantis told Fox News on Monday.
"I mean, you see what happens? The mob will come after people, and they're targeting Rogan because he's threatening to upset the apple cart on some of the things that they're holding dear. And with Covid, he's just bringing opposing views. He's letting people decide. They say he's against [the vaccine]. I do not listen to his show, but then I read he specifically advocated for people with comorbidities and elderly to get vaccinated."
DeSantis continued: "I think a lot of the legacy outlets and I think the left fear the fact that he can reach so many people, and so they're out to destroy him. But what I would say is don't give an inch. Do not apologise. Do not kow to the mob."
He added: "The only way they have power is if you let them get your goat."
A group of medical experts last month urged the streaming platform to take action against Covid-19 "misinformation" on Rogan's show, after viral interviews with Dr Peter McCullough and Dr Robert Malone, prominent sceptics of vaccines and other pandemic policies.
The issue came into the spotlight when folk rock icon Neil Young pulled his music off the platform in protest, and was joined by several other musicians.
Spotify subsequently said it would take steps including adding disclaimers to controversial episodes directing users to a "dedicated Covid-19 Hub" with facts and up-to-date information from scientists and public health authorities.
But the company continues to face pressure to cancel its exclusive US$100 million deal ($149m) with Rogan, signed in 2020.
Rogan further addressed the misinformation accusations on Tuesday during a comedy show in Texas, his first public appearance since Young pulled his music from the platform.
"I talk sh*t for a living – that's why this is so baffling to me," Rogan told the audience at the Vulcan Gas Company in Austin, the Daily Mail reported.
"If you're taking vaccine advice from me, is that really my fault? What dumb sh*t were you about to do when my stupid idea sounded better? 'You know that dude who made people eat animal d***s on TV? How does he feel about medicine?' If you want my advice, don't take my advice."
Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek is standing by Rogan for now, telling staffers in a letter this week that although he condemned the star's use of racial slurs, "I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer."
He wrote: "We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but cancelling voices is a slippery slope".
Ek said he supported Rogan's decision to remove 113 episodes from his podcast backlog.