Joe Rogan
© Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports
Joe Rogan, comedian and podcast superstar
Joe Rogan's partnership with Spotify has already led to attacks from media outlets, political pundits, and even employees of the streaming company itself, proving that 'mainstream' success is not for independent thinkers.

A recent report from Vice gave an insight into the struggles of employees at Spotify since Rogan's podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, began its reportedly $100 million licensing deal with the company.

Sources told the outlet there have been 10 internal meetings at Spotify already, with numerous employees complaining Rogan's views make them feel alienated and uncomfortable. Workers have objected to several episodes of the comedian's podcast, including July's interview with Abigail Shrier, author of the book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.

Shrier has been blasted by trans activists for often linking the act of transitioning with things like autism. For his part, Rogan has questioned whether aggressive activism has preyed on confused youths who may not really be transgender, but he has often said he supports transgender people, and only objects to genetically born men who have transitioned competing in combative sports against genetically born women.

The Shrier interview remains up at Spotify, but a handful of other episodes have yet to be ported, and may not be moved at all, including sit-downs with InfoWars founder Alex Jones, who himself was banned from Spotify for "hate content."

Jones has promised that he will be appearing on Rogan's podcast again soon (they both live in Austin, Texas now), but with the way things are going, there's no telling if Spotify would be willing to host the episode by the time it actually happens.

Spotify employees are not the only ones whining about Rogan's move from massively successful independent podcaster to an uber-successful one backed by a major company. Democrat pundits, like The View co-host Sunny Hostin, have labeled Rogan as "transphobic,""homophobic," and even "racist" based on out-of-context clips being shared around social media ever since Rogan dared to go against the tide and say he would vote for Bernie Sanders (before Biden cinched the nomination, of course).

Rogan's recent willingness to host a presidential debate between Biden and Donald Trump after the idea was floated by a guest has led to much of this newfound hate, with outlets like the Washington Post and others now combing through podcast episodes to find anything and everything political they can use as ammo to get the 'Cancel Rogan' plane in the air.

The sad fact is, Rogan is not actually very political. His podcast touches on a variety of subjects, from science to comedy, to storytelling to survival, to everything in between. In a world where there is cultural pressure to agree with absolutely everyone you take time to talk to, Rogan is willing to listen to anybody. These open and free-form discussions are what has made his podcast so wildly popular. Sometimes he will disagree with a guest, sometimes he will admit he doesn't know where he stands on something, and most times he will let listeners decide for themselves. And other times he'll simply do what he's supposed to do as a comedian and go for the easy laugh in the room, letting seriousness take a back seat. It is this kind of trust in an audience that makes his critics so nervous, and his deal with Spotify was clearly enough motivation for them to go on the attack.

Modern macro-thinking audiences can't handle Rogan's style of comedy for comedy's sake, or him having nuanced opinions on subjects where only binary opinions are typically deemed acceptable to express. Rogan is the exact sort of everyman uninfluenced by the constantly shifting woke standards that scares the modern left, because there is no controlling him.

Considering that deal was worth millions of dollars, Rogan is likely paying little attention to pesky haters because he's too busy laughing his way to the bank and enjoying Austin barbecues, but this pushback from so many angles - including the very company he works for - speaks to the larger issue: that free thinkers or anyone willing to break from the ever-changing far-left agenda may not be capable of maintaining mainstream success today. The media has become too radicalized, pundits have become too agenda-driven, and liberal crowds have turned themselves into a political correctness mob, always hungry for another victim to take down through their beloved social media. Anyone deemed remotely conservative today is bound to face the threat of cancellation once they step out of their corner in the sandbox and enter the mainstream, because that is the world where these agenda-driven activists still hold power.

Rogan could be different. He could be sitting down and smoking and joking, literally, with guests like Alex Jones for months to come, but the attacks will not stop. Critics will throw everything they can at him until something sticks. Here's hoping his $100 million armor is just the thing to keep the whiny snowflakes from getting the cancel culture win they really want.
Zachary Leeman is the author of the novel Nigh and journalist who covers art and culture. He has previously written for outlets such as Breitbart, LifeZette, and BizPac Review among others. Follow him on Twitter @WritingLeeman