ViacomCBS drops TV host Nick Cannon over anti-Semitic comments
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ViacomCBS drops TV host Nick Cannon over anti-Semitic comments

Media company cuts ties with host after podcast discussion involving conspiracy theories and hate speech; Cannon says he holds himself accountable for the statements

In this Dec. 10, 2018 photo, Nick Cannon poses for a portrait in New York to promote promoting his new show, "The Masked Singer." (Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)
In this Dec. 10, 2018 photo, Nick Cannon poses for a portrait in New York to promote promoting his new show, "The Masked Singer." (Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)

Nick Cannon’s “hateful speech” and anti-Semitic theories led ViacomCBS to cut ties with the TV host and producer, the media giant said Tuesday.

“ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism,” the company said in a statement. It is terminating its relationship with Cannon, ViacomCBS said.

The company’s move was in response to remarks made by Cannon on a podcast in which he and Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin, the former Public Enemy member, discussed racial bias. The podcast reportedly was filmed last year and aired two weeks ago.

According to Page Six, during the podcast Cannon said that Black people are the “true Hebrews” and also discussed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories involving “the Rothschilds, centralized banking, the 13 families, the bloodlines that control everything even outside of America.”

Nick Cannon (R) and Richard ‘Professor Griff’ Griffin, the former Public Enemy member talk during an episode of ‘Cannon’s Class,’ released July 2020 (Screen grab/YouTube)

Cannon also reportedly praised the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

“It’s never hate speech, you can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people,” Cannon said. “When we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.”

Griffin left Public Enemy in 1989 when the group came under fire for his homophobic and anti-Semitic comments.

Inductees Chuck D, left, Flavor Flav, center, and Professor Griff, standing right, of Public Enemy perform during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Nokia Theatre on April 18, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)

Cannon produced “Wild ’n Out,” a comedy improv series for VH1, a ViacomCBS-owned cable channel. He’s been a regular part of TV shows unconnected to the company, including as the former host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and host of Fox’s “The Masked Singer.”

“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,” ViacomCBS said.

“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 company said.

There was no immediate response to requests for comment made to a representative for Cannon and to him through his website. Fox also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

As controversy over his podcast began to bubble up Monday, Cannon replied in a Facebook post.

“I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric … The Black and Jewish communities have both faced enormous hatred, oppression persecution and prejudice for thousands of years and in many ways have and will continue to work together to overcome these obstacles,” he wrote.

In the lengthy post, Cannon also said he welcomed being held accountable for his statement and that he held himself accountable “for this moment and take full responsibility.”

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