Joe Rogan and Elon Musk call out vaccine scientist to debate RFK Jr.

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - APRIL 09: 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)
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)

OAN’s Noah Herring
1:05 PM – Monday, June 19, 2023

Elon Musk and Joe Rogan challenged Dr. Peter Hotez, a prominent pro-vaccine scientist, to debate Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

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Following his podcast featuring Kennedy Jr., Hotez was critical of the condemning content, calling it “awful” and “nonsense”. Rogan then offered $100,000 to the charity of Hotez’ choice if he agreed to debate RFK on vaccines. 

Kennedy, who is a 2024 Democrat nominee, claimed that the vaccines cause autism in many people and discussed the power of the pharmaceutical industry. 

Bill Ackman, the CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, took to action along with several others as he pledged to donate $150,000 on top of Rogan’s donation in order to schedule the debate. 

The invitation was able to also capture the attention of Elon Musk, who taunted Hotez on Twitter suggesting he “hates charity” and was “afraid of a public debate,” attempting to get him to agree to the invitation.

“I am generally pro vaccine,” Musk wrote. “I have been vaccinated against pretty much everything, as have my kids. Second, I think there is tremendous promise in synthetic mRNA. It is like medicine going from analog to digital. That said, the world obviously went crazy with excess vaccination against ‘COVID-19.’ I have that in quotes, because the RNA sequences changed so much that I called it the virus of Theseus… So many people I know had serious side effects from the vaccines, including myself. Failure to acknowledge that is a lie. As for the deaths you claim are due to COVID-19, why is the nation of Sweden still alive!? Just go on Rogan and do the debate.”

After Hotez replied that he would be happy to talk to Rogan, Rogan responded back, saying it was a “non-answer” and that Hotez agreed with a “dogs**t” Vice article that attacked his podcast. Other outlets including Vice attacked Spotify as well for not labeling the interview as “misinformation.” 

Billionaire Mark Cuban took to Twitter as well, calling Rogan’s challenge “bulls**t” and ignoring lives saved by the pharmaceutical industry, despite the debated issues. 

Over the weekend, Hotez found people showing up to his residence urging him to debate Kennedy.

Independent journalist Alex Rosen filmed as he greeted Hotez outside his house, asking him why he would not debate. Hotez responded that he would give the matter some thought before telling Rosen he was harassing him.

“He just invited me, so we’ll see,” Hotez said, adding “Don’t come to my house.” 

Hotez appeared on MSNBC on Sunday to announce that he would not “debate” on the topic of vaccines with Kennedy and explained that in the field of science it was more practical to write papers instead. 

“The point is anti-vaccine disinformation, it’s always done a lot of damage and harm, but now it’s a lethal force in the United States, and that’s why we have to have that discussion,” Hotez said. “And I offered to come and go on Joe Rogan again… I’ve been on a couple of times and have that discussion with it, but not to turn it into the Jerry Springer Show with having RFK Jr. on.”

Hotez has been criticized for his stance toward COVID-19 vaccines and masks for children, despite a low mortality rate for that age group and recent studies that showed masks essentially provide little-to-no safety regarding the virus.

Conservative commentators have also bashed him in the past for his caution in re-opening schools, despite the statistical harm that was caused from prolonged closures. 

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