On a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, the podcast host and his guest, Hotep Jesus, ranted about a New South Wales, Australia state law that they claimed would ban residents from growing their own food, only to realize mid-rant the law never existed.
Rogan says he “read something briefly” that Australia is trying to pass a bill that would outlaw growing one’s own food. The claims Rogan repeated on his podcast most likely came from fake viral social media posts that have been debunked by authorities in Australia.
The bill in question is a piece of legislation in Victoria named Agriculture Legislation Bill 2022 that amends multiple acts previously passed by parliament. None of the amendments, however, have anything to do with growing your own food. A spokesperson for the Victorian government told Reuters: "No one will be prevented from growing their own food as part of these changes."
As Reuters pointed out, viral posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram suggested that Daniel Andrews, (the premier of another Australian state, Victoria,) intended to pass the bill to ban people from growing food were actually not true.
“You could justify it if you were a real piece of shit,” Rogan says of the law during the podcast. “You could say, ‘Well you know, most pandemics have come from agriculture. Animal agriculture. We can’t have unchecked pig ownership. That’s not fair. We can’t have you growing vegetables, what if your vegetables have ergot in them. Diseases.’”
Rogan goes on to speculate this is a plot to “smoke out” anti-vaxxers and force them to take a vaccine as Hotep Jesus chimes in that “you are now dependent on the state.” That’s when his producer, Jamie Vernon, chimes in that he’s been unable to find it on Google. “I know what to look for, it’s just that nothing’s coming up,” Vernon cuts in as Rogan tries to explain what to search for.
“It’s got to be a real thing,” Rogan mutters as he takes out his phone. “It seems too good to not be.” That’s because it was too good to be true for the podcast—but it didn’t stop Rogan from believing it was real, and spreading that misinformation to his own audience. What he “read briefly” was likely just tweets and memes with false information. On Facebook and Instagram, people reshared a tweet claiming that "Premier Dan Andrews is passing a bill that prohibits people from growing their own food” and "Biosecurity is stated as the reason for the changes."
On Twitter, a Youtuber claims that "Australia is passing a bill that will prevent people from growing their own food. Totally normal."
“They want us completely dependent,” Hotep Jesus just as Rogan admits it might be fake. “Even if it's fake, the fake is usually the warning,” adds Hotep Jesus.
This isn’t the first time Hotep Jesus has appeared on Rogan’s podcast to spread conspiracy theories. In 2019, he joined the show to discuss why he believed the Atlantic slave trade never happened, how Native Americans were actually Africans, and a host of alternative fiction plots.
"The other psyop is that we were the natives. We were not brought here on slave ships, that's not economically sound," Hotep Jesus said in that interview. "Natives are the melanated African beings that have come here since the beginning of the Mali Empire. We're talking about the 14th, 13th century."
All this nonsense aside, this is not the first that Rogan or one of his guests has uncritically run with something so clearly false, nor will it likely be the last.