ViacomCBS is ending its long-running relationship with Nick Cannon after he made anti-Semitic comments on his podcast, Cannon’s Class.
In the episode, which was filmed last year but posted two weeks ago, Cannon discussed race and racism with former Public Enemy member, Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin. Griffin left Public Enemy in 1989 after making similar anti-Semitic comments in an interview.
Controversial Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories
On the podcast, Cannon said Black people are the “true Hebrews.” He also asserted the truth of a number of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in the episode. Referencing “The Rothschilds, centralized banking, the 13 families, the bloodlines that control everything even outside of America.”
Cannon insisted that the conversation was not ‘hate speech’, because ‘Semitic people are black people.’ He said, “You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people.” Cannon also voiced his admiration for Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan.
ViacomCBS official statement
Following the podcast, A ViacomCBS spokesperson revealed in an official statement that the company has decided to cut ties with the Wild ‘n Out host. This comes after Cannon “failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism.”
“ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism,” the statement read. “We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast ‘Cannon’s Class’ on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. While we support ongoing education and dialogue in the fight against bigotry. We are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.”
The spokesperson added that ViacomCBS is “committed to doing better in our response to incidents of anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry.”
“Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart”
Yesterday, as the controversy mounted, Cannon took to Facebook and tried to explain his words.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intentions,” said Cannon. “I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric. We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding.”
However, he did not directly apologize for the podcast episode, instead saying. “I encourage more healthy dialogue. And I welcome any experts, clergy, or spokespersons to any of my platforms to hold me accountable and correct me in any statement that I’ve made that has been projected as negative. Until then, I hold myself accountable for this moment and take full responsibility. Because my intentions are only to show that as a beautiful human species we have way more commonalities than differences. So let’s embrace those as well as each other. We All Family!”
“To me, apologies are empty”
Cannon later addressed the controversial video in an interview with Fast Company. “In a time like 2020 we got to have these conversations.”
Responding to criticism he faced for not apologizing in his Facebook statement, Cannon said, “To me apologies are empty. Are you forcing me to say the words ‘I’m sorry’? Are you making me bow down. ’cause then again, that would be perpetuating that same rhetoric that we’re trying to get away from.”
Cannon’s journey with Viacom so far
Cannon has had a relationship with Viacom since he was an actor on Nickelodeon in the ’90s. He’s also hosted the sketch comedy show Wild ‘n Out, which aired on MTV and VH1 since 2005.
More recently, he’s been known as the host of The Masked Singer on Fox and hosted America’s Got Talent on NBC from 2009-2016. He’s also launching a syndicated daytime talk show in September with Debmar-Mercury.
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