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Joe Rogan Sparks Outrage After Falsely Claiming ‘Left-Wing People’ Were Starting Oregon Wildfires

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Joe Rogan Sparks Outrage After Falsely Claiming ‘Left-Wing People’ Were Starting Oregon Wildfires

The podcast host Joe Rogan has offered an apology after pushing dangerous, widely debunked claims that “left-wing” activists had been arrested on suspicion of setting forest fires in Oregon.

“They’ve arrested people for lighting forest fires up there,” Rogan said on a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” while talking about Portland, Oregon. “They’ve arrested left-wing people for lighting these forest fires, air-quote ‘activists.’ This is also something that’s not being widely reported, you know, that people have actually been arrested for lighting fires up there.”

Authorities and fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked right-wing conspiracy theories that left-wing activists, such as members of the loose-knit antifa movement, have been intentionally setting forest fires.

“FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies have been receiving reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon. With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue,” Loren Cannon, the special agent in charge of the FBI office covering Portland, said in a statement posted to Twitter by FBI Portland.

Snopes reported that false rumors spread in early September that “antifa” had set fires on the West Coast, particularly in Oregon. The fact-checker notes that much of the misinformation spreading on social media seemed intended to link the wildfires to racial-justice protests in Portland.

Joy Krawczyk, a representative for the Oregon Department of Forestry, told The New York Times “we’re not seeing any indications of a mass politically influenced arson campaign.”

“I f*cked up on the podcast with Douglas Murray and said that people got arrested lighting fires in Portland,” Rogan wrote on Instagram after sparking outrage online.

“That turns out to not be true,” he continued. “I was very irresponsible not looking into it before I repeated it. I read one story about a guy getting arrested for lighting fires that turned out to be true, but the other shit I read about people getting arrested for lifting fires in Portland was not true. I repeated it without looking into it and it was a really fucking stupid mistake that won’t happen again. I’m sorry.”

Rogan included a video of himself with the post, reiterating the same sentiment.

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