A scheduled appearance next year by Joe Rogan at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena has been scuttled. The contentious American comedian and podcasting superstar alluded to the cancellation on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, suggesting that his unvaccinated status was an issue.
“I should probably say this because I haven’t yet. My 4/20 show that sold out in Vancouver, I don’t think that’s happening,” Rogan said on Dec. 24. “I don’t think I can even get into the country. I’m not vaccinated, I’m not gonna get vaccinated. I have antibodies, it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think I can go.”
According to an order from the Provincial Health Office, event performers are not required to be vaccinated. However, some venues, including Rogers Arena, have additional requirements in place. Canucks Sports & Entertainment, which owns the arena, issued a statement to The Globe and Mail.
“Safety is our top priority and we require everyone, including performers, artists, staff and fans to be fully vaccinated to enter Rogers Arena,” said Michael Doyle, president, business operations.
Rogan is an outspoken opponent of vaccine mandates. This September, he said he had contracted COVID-19, which was treated with monoclonal antibodies and a battery of unproven remedies including antibiotics, a vitamin drip and the antiparasitic medication Ivermectin.
Rogan’s appearance, which had been postponed previously, was set for April 20, 2022. The live event’s title, “4/20,″ is an insider’s reference to marijuana.
As for Rogan’s insinuation that he wouldn’t be allowed into Canada, unvaccinated visitors from the United States are not currently banned from crossing the border. Neither would Rogan be prevented from returning to the U.S. The federal government requires only non-citizens coming by air to be fully vaccinated.
In response to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, a recent B.C. health order limited capacity at venues with more than 1,000 people to 50 per cent. Such a restriction might make an arena show economically unfeasible, and Rogan did mention the half-capacity issue when he spoke about the Vancouver date.
His event’s promoter, Live Nation Canada, released a statement to The Globe: “We are aware of the latest capacity regulations British Columbia has set in place beginning December 20. Ticket purchasers of impacted events will be contacted directly via e-mail with updates on what this means for their show(s). We appreciate your understanding during this time.”
Earlier this month, B.C.-bred rocker Bryan Adams cancelled his New Year’s Eve homecoming celebration at Rogers Arena, citing the province’s attendance limits.
The cancellation of Rogan’s springtime appearance will not bankrupt the comedian. In May, 2020, he agreed to an exclusive US$100-million licensing deal with Spotify. He is the streaming service’s most popular podcaster and, perhaps, its most controversial.
On April 23, 2021, Rogan told his listeners that healthy young people need not get a COVID-19 vaccine. After the comments went viral, American infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci and others condemned the podcaster for spreading dangerous misinformation. A week later, Rogan clarified his statements.
“I’m not an anti-vax person,” he said, speaking to comedian Andrew Santino. “In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take ‘em. I just said, I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person, that you need it.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article was incorrect in saying performers at Rogers Arena do not need to be vaccinated. Rogers Arena said performers, artists, staff and fans are required to be fully vaccinated.
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