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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Joe Rogan is walking back comments he made on his podcast Thursday in which he perpetuated the debunked theory “left-wing people” in Portland started Oregon wildfires.
That claim has been denounced as false by law enforcement agencies from the local level all the way up to the FBI.
“I f—ed up on the podcast with Douglas Murray and said that people got arrested lighting fires in Portland. That turns out not to be true,” Rogan, who is also a comedian and mixed martial arts commentator, said in a tweet Friday. “I was very irresponsible not looking into it before I repeated it.”
He also gave a similar “apology and retraction” video on his Instagram account.
The original comments from the Thursday episode of his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” take aim at protesters in Portland, saying there’s a “madness” going on.
“They’ve arrested left-wing people for lighting these forest fires,” Rogan said to an audience estimated to be in the millions. “You know, air-quote, ‘activists.’ This is also something that’s not widely being reported.”
Rumors have swirled in Oregon communities in recent weeks that some fires were set by antifa, which according to the Associated Press, is shorthand for anti-fascists and an umbrella description for far-left-leaning militant groups. It’s unclear where the rumors came from.
During a press conference Wednesday, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts reiterated that there was “no evidence” antifa or people belonging to any political groups have been setting fires or causing crimes.
That’s a sentiment shared by other Oregon law enforcement agencies, such as Molalla Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and the Medford Police Department.
“With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue,” tweeted FBI Portland last week. “Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control.”
Some counties have been dealing with the presence of armed citizens creating roadblocks and stopping people from entering communities. Such groups were denounced by both Clackamas Sheriff Craig Roberts and Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese.
A Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy was placed on leave following a video circulating on Twitter and YouTube allegedly showing a pair of deputies fueling the antifa arson rumors while talking to citizens.