Joe Rogan admits schools aren’t installing litter boxes for kids who identify as furries

Joe Rogan in a black shirt.

Podcast host Joe Rogan has admitted that the rumour he spread about schools providing litter boxes to kids who identify as furries is fake.

The bizarre and easily-debunked conspiracy theory has been persistently spread by anti-LGBTQ+ US media personalities and politicians in recent months as part of the conservative right’s wider attack on trans and gender non-conforming youth.

According to an investigation by NBC News, at least 20 Republican politicians have platformed the rumour that schools are giving litter boxes to children that identify as cats or furries, including Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert.

In October, while hosting former US representative Tulsi Gabbard on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan claimed that he knew the rumour to be true through the account of his friend’s wife.

He told Gabbard on air: “My friend, his wife is a schoolteacher, and she works at a school that had to install a litter box in the girls room because there is a girl who’s a furry, who identifies as an animal, and her mother badgered the school until they agreed to put a litter box in one of the stalls.

“So this girl goes into the litter room or to the girl’s room and urinates or whatever — I don’t know if she poops in it, that’s pretty gross.”

Throughout the episode, Rogan continued to refer back to the hoax. But now, over a month later, the anti-LGBTQ+ podcast host has admitted that it isn’t true.

In another podcast episode, he said: “The kitty litter boxes is a weird one… I fed into that and let me – I should probably clarify that a bit.”

In a disjointed explanation, he said that his friend’s wife no longer worked at the school, and that there was no evidence that it actually happened.

“I don’t think they actually did it,” he said.

While the rumour might seem absurd to most people, in a political climate where anti-LGBTQ+ lawmakers regularly rant about “lesbian dance theory” and “queer pet literature degrees“, it’s less surprising.

As Ericka Menchen-Trevino, a professor at American University’s School of Communication, explained to The Guardian: “This story put together a few things that some people already believe are true: that people’s assertions of identity, especially [for] children, are out of control, and that our schools are out of control for allowing it.

“It fits very well with some people’s prior beliefs, and they don’t need to fact-check [because] it’s right in line with what they believe.”