Trevor Noah Calls Out Joe Rogan Over N-Word Video and ‘Planet of the Apes’ Apology

Noah pointed out how one of the worst aspects of the montage clip is when "Joe Rogan told a story about going to a movie in a Black neighborhood.”

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Trevor Noah is speaking out about Joe Rogan’s latest N-word controversy. 

Rogan was called out last week in a montage video shared by India Arie showing him saying the racial slur two dozen times on his Spotify podcast. After Rogan’s apologetic response, the Daily Show host decided to share his thoughts on air. 

“If there’s ever a video of you saying the N-word that many times, you better pray one of two things: either you’re Black person, or you’re a dead man from history,” Noah said Monday. “Then the worst thing they can do is take your statue down and move it into a museum. And as bad as it was to see Joe Rogan dropping the N-word like he bought it in bulk at Costco, an even worse part of the video is when Joe Rogan told a story about going to a movie in a Black neighborhood.”

Noah, who previously called out Rogan over his comments on race, was referring to Rogan’s recollection of seeing Planet of the Apes, where he used the movie title to reference the neighborhood he saw it in, saying he “walked into Africa” when he entered the theater. Rogan claimed in his apology that he was trying to make his anecdote “entertaining,” and now says it “wasn’t a racist story, but it sounded terrible.”

“First of all, he said he would never say that Black people are apes, but he said that! That’s literally what he said,” Noah exclaimed. “It’s not just racist. That’s OG racism. That’s the original, old-school racism. That’s on the Mt. Rushmore of racism. ‘Black people are apes’ is right next to burning crosses and every Bugs Bunny cartoon from the 1940s.”

The comedian/author added that Rogan classifying his words as “entertaining” ended up being “illuminating” for observers. Noah pointed to the fact that Rogan said it was “a racist thing for me to say” after he made the joke, with Trevor arguing “laughs don’t mean that there’s no racism.”  

“As for Joe Rogan, he says he’s learned his lesson, and I hope he has,” Noah said. “But I will say, if I were him, I wouldn’t walk into a cinema in a Black neighborhood for a little while.”

Noah elaborated on how saying the “N-word” for white people puts them in “unnecessary trouble,” regardless of context. “Because Black people don’t have the time to sit down and sort out the racist who says the N-word 70 times with the non-racist who says the N-word 70 times,” he said. “Black people are dealing with too much shit. ‘No, no, look at how I was using it’—no, dude, no one’s got the time for that. Just stop saying it or just be racist—it’s easier for everyone that way.”

The host later touched on Spotify’s decision to not remove Rogan’s lucrative podcast despite several big-name musicians pulling their music from the platform over his comments on race and his role in spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Noah said “whipping out your checkbook,” like Spotify did when it donated to marginalized groups in response to the backlash, “is the classic sign that you know you fucked up.”

“It’s not real accountability,” Noah said. “It’s how rich dudes get out of car accidents when they know that it was their fault. … And Spotify can say that Rogan’s comments don’t represent the company’s values, they said ‘these podcasts do not represent Spotify’s values.’ But when companies say that, I’m like, ‘Guys, clearly the company’s values are making money.’ And no shade by the way, those are the values of every company. Part of me wishes that Spotify would just drop the facade. Just come out and be like, ‘We do not believe in silencing Joe Rogan, because he makes us money. But if at some point he ends up costing us money, then we will drop him, because money.’”

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