Joe Rogan – who has over a million listeners to his podcast – recently said on his show that the wildfires that have ravaged California were caused be ‘left-wing’ people.

The California wildfires have been raging for weeks now, many of them with an unknown origin but generally attributed to rising temperatures and the fact that it’s a dry summer.

Similar fires are raging around Oregon and Washington, although people have been arrested in connection with those fires but were reported to have any political affiliation.

On his podcast, Joe Rogan chose to push a debunked theory that the blazes in Oregon were being spread by people from the left.

They’ve arrested left-wing people for lighting these forest fires. This is something that's not widely being reported; that people have been arrested for starting fires up there. 

I would love to talk to the mayor and say 'what is your strategy for ending this?' because these people want your head and they want blood, and they don’t seem to be willing to settle for anything less.

Rogan didn’t explain where he had heard these rumours from, nor did he explain why he thought it was true.

This is a conspiracy theory that has been debunked – even by the FBI. NBC News and Buzzfeed have both noted that people have been arrested in connection to several of the wildfires, including the people who threw the gender reveal party in California which is thought to have sparked some of them.

Erica Fleishman, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, told Buzzfeed:

There is virtually no evidence that 'antifa' caused the wildfires currently burning in Oregon. The FBI has referenced these rumors as 'untrue.' Local law enforcement offices throughout Oregon are stating that the rumors are false. Even in the cases of fires in which arson is suspected, there are no credible links to antifa or other extremist groups.

Many of these claims appear to be coming from parts of right-wing social media, many of whom are climate deniers who refuse to accept that a rapidly warming planet is one of the reasons that these wildfires have been so much worse this year. But there have been real consequences – people have vowed to stay in their towns, rather than evacuating when it becomes unsafe because they say that this is them standing up to ‘Antifa’ and some towns have even set up their own checkpoints, which authorities have had to remove.

Rogan has still not debunked the conspiracy theory, nor has he apologised for repeating it. Unsurprisingly, his comments have sparked backlash on Twitter with many calling for Spotify, which hosts the podcast and whom he signed $100 million licensing deal with Spotify in May, to take action.

Rogan is a controversial figure in politics, often spreading misinformation – but he has also had a range of guests on his podcast, including former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

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