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( – Last weekend, a Baylor College of Medicine professor was challenged by Joe Rogan to come onto his show to debate Robert F. Kennedy about vaccines.

The controversy began after the professor, Dr. Peter Hotez, responded to a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience featuring Democratic presidential candidate Kennedy Jr. Hotez called Kennedy’s position on vaccines “misinformation” and criticized Spotify after the episode was released. Hotez claimed he received a lot of “online attacks” after the podcast was released, which he said made it clear that “many actually believe this nonsense.”

In the episode, Rogan and Kennedy discussed the 2020 pandemic, vaccines, alternative treatments like ivermectin, the assassination of Kennedy’s uncle President John F. Kennedy, and more.

After Hotez accused Spotify, Rogan, and Kennedy of spreading “vaccine misinformation,” Rogan responded by asking Hotez to come on his show to debate the issue with Kennedy. Rogan also offered the professor “$100,000 to the charity of your choice” if he accepted the challenge, and said there would be no time limit to the debate.

Hotez ducked publicly answering the request to debate Kennedy but said Rogan has his information and that he’s “always willing” to speak with him.

Tom Nichols, a writer for The Atlantic, chimed in on Twitter and said, “No medical expert should ever agree” to debate someone like Kennedy because debating him would only legitimize his claims. Nichols said to “never debate a conspiracy theorist,” which received a lot of backlash online as a cowardly position.

Then others, such as Bill Ackman and Steve Kirsch, began to offer more money to Hotez on top of Rogan’s offer, eager to see the debate take place. The collective offer is now over $600,000.

It’s still unclear whether the debate will happen, but the publicity of the incident is bringing more attention to Kennedy’s presidential campaign and his controversial positions on vaccines, which is a major part of his platform.

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