Steve Albini on Joe Rogan: “If a fucking Juggalo can manage it, a nine-figure podcaster can step the fuck up without whining”

The guitarist and producer didn’t seem to be impressed with Rogan’s apology for past racist language.

Guitarist and producer Steve Albini has added his voice to the criticism currently orbiting controversial podcaster Joe Rogan, citing Insane Clown Posse member Violent J as a better example of a figure who has addressed past controversies.

Musicians such as Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have removed their music from Spotify in protest against Rogan’s show, which is exclusive to the streaming platform. Young, the first to remove his music, initially cited Rogan’s platforming of medical misinformation, however, criticism of Rogan soon spread to his past use of racist language.

Entering the fray, Albini responded to a tweet praising Insane Clown Posse member Violent J, and how he addressed homophobia in the duo’s earlier recordings.

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“This is absolutely model owning-your-shit behaviour,” Albini said of Violent J’s words. “And if a goddamn fucking Juggalo can manage it, a nine-figure podcaster can step the fuck up without whining”

Albini went on to praise the Juggalo community, calling them “a non-judgmental, inclusive community for people on the fringe, built on a beautiful communion they call ‘family.’”

“They remind me of punk/queer chosen families and I love them. I haven’t heard much of the music, it’s atrocious. Who cares,” he added.

The apology Albini is referring to saw Rogan address his repeated use of the N-word, and an incident in which he compared visiting a Black neighbourhood to The Planet Of The Apes.

“I know for most people there’s no context where a white person is allowed to say that word – and I agree with that now,” Rogan said in a video uploaded to Instagram. “I haven’t said it for years… I thought as long as it was in context, people would understand what I was doing.”

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“I never used it to be racist, because I’m not racist,” he added. “But whenever you’re in a situation where you have to say ‘I’m not racist’, you’ve fucked up. And I’ve clearly fucked up.”

Albini recently discussed the issue of owning up to an edgy and offensive past, something he is particularly well-placed to do so, given a previous band of his was called Rapeman, and many Big Black songs were written to be deliberately offensive.

Albini also published a piece of writing which repeatedly used the N-word. He called his past approach “inexcusable,” explaining that his previous desire to cause offence came from a place of ignorance and privilege. He described a culture within punk circles at the time that viewed itself as incapable of discrimination, as everyone involved held somewhat progressive views. “The way a lot of straight white guys think of the world – they think that it requires an active hatred on your part to be prejudiced, bigoted or to be a participant in white supremacy,” he said.

“The notion is that if you’re not actively doing something to oppress somebody, then you’re not part of the problem. As opposed to quietly enjoying all of the privilege that’s been bestowed on you by generations of this dominance.”

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