Brazilian Podcaster’s Nazi Comments Show How Joe Rogan’s Model Is Going Global

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The post Brazilian Podcaster’s Nazi Comments Show How Joe Rogan’s Model Is Going Global appeared first on Consequence.

Three years ago, video game streamer Bruno Aiub decided to start a new podcast, Flow, modeled on The Joe Rogan Experience. “I said, ‘Man, it would be really cool if I did that here in Brazil, since nobody else is,’” he told The New York Times. He interviewed comedians, academics, government officials, and ufologists, drinking alcohol and smoking weed in episodes that lasted several hours. Aiub, who goes by the moniker Monark, quickly became one of the country’s most popular podcasters.

His meteoric rise is due in no small part to the model developed by his hero, but as he learned last week, aping Rogan comes with risk. In a February 7th conversation with two members of the Brazilian congress, Aiub argued that Brazil should embrace free speech absolutism, including legalizing the currently-illegal Nazi party.

“In my opinion, the radical left has much more space than the radical right,” he told his approximately 3.6 million YouTube subscribers. “Both should be given space. I am crazier than all of you. I think that a Nazi should have a Nazi party, recognized by law.” He added, “If someone wants to be anti-Jewish, I think he has a right to be.”

Aiub woke up Tuesday to thousands of people calling him a Nazi on social media. Sponsors pulled funding, the government opened an investigation into “the alleged offence of Nazi apologism,” and his podcast production company announced that they would be severing ties with the 31-year-old provocateur.

His apology came in several stages. First he blamed the remarks on his drunkeness, claiming that the show’s bartender served him “a really crazy drink. I don’t even know what it was, to be honest, but it worked.”

Two days later, he sounded more regretful. “The point that I was going to make that day was about the First Amendment in the United States. But I defended it in a really bad way, in a stupid way,” he said. “I want to assure you that I am totally against any kind of prejudice.”

Now, he’s going on the attack. In his latest interview with the Times, he said, “I am being destroyed for defending an idea that is constitutional in the United States. I’m not a Nazi.”

He plans to start a new podcast, and is hoping to get the blessing of Rogan himself. “It would be a tremendous honor to talk to him,” he said. “I need a little international help.”

The government’s investigation is ongoing, and Aiub’s rapid rise and striking fall have sparked a nationwide conversation in Brazil about free speech and the difference between cancel culture and consequences. Even President Jair Bolsonaro has weighed in, saying that, “Nazi ideology must be repudiated,” and adding, “as well as any and all totalitarian ideology that jeopardizes the fundamental rights of people.”

It’s the latest example of how American-style culture wars have spread around the world. Some of it is familiar, such as when France’s President Emmanuel Macron blasted “le wokeisme,” while arguing that France has no issues with racism. Other incidents are much more extreme, like when a Muslim comedian with 500,000 YouTube subscribers was arrested in India earlier this month by far-right Hindu nationalists. Across the globe, nations are engaged in high-stakes battles over the acceptable boundaries of speech.

As for Rogan, he’s long walked the line between controversial and inflammatory, protected by America’s liberal free speech laws and the $100 million contract he signed with Spotify, which has made it financially difficult for the streaming platform to move on. His persistent vaccine misinformation caused Neil Young to pull his music from Spotify, and since then, entertainers have lined up on both sides of the debate.

If only that were the end of Rogan’s 2022 controversies. Spotify removed 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience earlier this month after a video compilation of the host using the N-word went viral. Like Aiub, he first apologized, and then went on the offensive, claiming he was the victim of a “political hit job.”

Brazilian Podcaster’s Nazi Comments Show How Joe Rogan’s Model Is Going Global
Wren Graves

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