Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has drawn flak online after walking back support for Joe Rogan over his prior use of the N-word – with social media users digging up statements previously put out by the Hollywood star that would not go over well today.
Johnson quietly deleted at least one tweet from 2011 that has now been criticized as “violent” and “transphobic,” in which he called out someone for “turning tranny tricks.” The tweet resurfaced after the former WWE superstar claimed on Friday that he was “not aware” of Rogan’s N-word use when he voiced his appreciation for the embattled Spotify podcaster.
Describing it as a “learning moment,” Johnson added that he had “become educated to [Rogan’s] complete narrative.” He was responding to a tweet from author Don Winslow that criticized him for the “terrible use of [his] power” in defending Rogan and questioned whether Johnson had “actually listened to this man’s many racist statements about Black people.”
Over the weekend, however, social media users highlighted a number of past instances where Johnson was not exactly politically correct, including Donald Trump Jr. who noted the “hateful rhetoric” in the deleted 2011 tweet. Caitlyn Jenner also weighed in about the “double standard” being “real.”
Other people shared video clips from his wrestling days that have not aged well, including one where he – likely, in keeping with his persona on the show – referred to fellow WWE star John Cena as a “bloated transvestite Wonder Woman” and another ringside moment where he “racially insulted Chinese people” by mimicking a stereotypical Asian accent.
Last week, Johnson and other celebrities had backed Rogan stance during the brewing controversy over Spotify’s decision to not de-platform him for apparently spreading Covid-19 misinformation on his John Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast. In an Instagram post, Rogan had maintained that he was only interested in “telling the truth” and having “interesting conversations.” At the time, Johnson had complimented Rogan’s response for being “perfectly articulated.”
Since the compilation of clips featuring Rogan using the N-word emerged, as many as 113 episodes of JRE have vanished from Spotify, according to JRE Missing, a service that tracks the popular podcast. No reason has been given for their removal.
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