Comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan has made a number of dubious comments on his popular Spotify show, “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
But with the rise of generative artificial intelligence, other people are digitally putting words in his mouth.
A video shared Nov. 6 on Instagram claims to show Rogan talking about a child abduction at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, that supposedly took place Oct. 13 at the theme park. Rogan said the parents saw a man abducting their child “into an underground tunnel that seemed to vanish beneath the floor.”
A caption with the video said, “People have been talking about these tunnels for so many years. #CancelDisney.”
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
We found other examples of the video being shared on social media. But we found no evidence that Rogan has discussed a Disneyland abduction on his podcast and no evidence any abduction has taken place at the park in October.
(Screenshot from Instagram)
A story about a child being abducted and taken into a tunnel surely would have made news headlines, if, as the video claims, police responded to the scene. But a Google search revealed nothing about the incident, and an Anaheim Police Department spokesperson said the agency did not respond to any calls about a child abduction at the park.
“We are not investigating any child abductions at, or near, the Disneyland Resorts,” said Sgt. Jon McClintock, a public information officer at the Anaheim Police Department, who said the claim in the Instagram video “is unfounded.”
The Anaheim Police Department has officers assigned to work at the Disneyland Resort. They handle all police-related matters, including response to crimes and criminal investigations, while working closely with Disney’s private security team, said McClintock.
The Instagram video is likely AI-generated. The first clue something was amiss was that Rogan was speaking, but his words don’t match his mouth movements.
We checked “The Joe Rogan Experience” YouTube page and the show’s Spotify page and none of the headlines or descriptions posted after October mentioned Disneyland or child abductions.
We also looked for videos in which Rogan was wearing a T-shirt with the words, “Rumble in the Jungle,” that he wore in the Instagram post.
We found three YouTube videos this year in which Rogan wore the same “Rumble in the Jungle,” T-shirt. All predated the supposed October incident at Disney.
Two were posted on March 1. In them, Rogan discussed “Saturday Night Live” and the chemical spill from a derailed train in East Palestine, Ohio. Neither mentioned Disneyland. They were clips taken from Rogan’s March 1 podcast episode 1944 with Tony Hinchcliffe and Brian Redban.
Another video clip posted Feb. 21 showed Rogan interviewing comedian Ryan Long. It had the headline, “Brain Implants, Iron Man Suits, and Robot Children,” and nothing about Disneyland. It was taken from episode 1944 of Rogan’s podcast.
We contacted Rogan through his Instagram page received no response.
We can’t pinpoint who created this Rogan video. We found a YouTube account that posted the same video Oct. 23, and a similar one with Rogan wearing the same shirt. In the second video, also posted Oct. 23, Rogan supposedly talked about Starbucks ordering its workers to write customers’ names incorrectly on coffee cups.
It wouldn’t be the first time someone used AI to create a fake Rogan podcast. In the genuine March 1 Rogan podcast episode, at the 2:03.25 mark, Rogan and his guests discussed AI-generated audio of Rogan, including a fake interview between him and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs created by Podcast.ai.
There’s also a YouTube page called “The Joe Rogan AI Experience” that has several fictional podcasts, including interviews with Donald Trump and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. In 2019, engineers at machine learning company Dessa recreated Rogan’s voice using AI.
There’s no evidence a child was abducted at Disneyland’s parks in October and we could not find videos of Rogan discussing that. The claim is Pants on Fire!