This weekend, a YouTube video hosted by TV personality Nick Cannon received backlash for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and anti-Jewish rhetoric. Following this, ViacomCBS announced that it has ended its relationship with the star.
In a statement on Tuesday, the media company said “ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism.” “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.”
Cannon has been working with Viacom since his appearance on Nickelodeon’s sketch-comedy All That in the 1990s. He has hosted MTV’s Wild ‘N Out since 2005 and currently hosts Fox’s The Masked Singer.
In the episode of Cannon’s Class, filmed alongside rapper Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin, Cannon repeatedly references Jewish conspiracy theories that many regard as deeply offensive. Griffin himself was expelled from the hip-hop band Public Enemy when he made anti-Semitic comments in a 1989 Washington Times interview. In their conversation, Cannon bounces off of the rapper’s memories by talking about his own questions and criticisms regarding Jewish power in the music and entertainment industry.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intentions. 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,” Cannon tweeted, starting off a series of tweets addressing the issue.
I am an advocate for people’s voices to be heard openly, fairly and candidly. In today’s conversation about anti-racism and social justice, I think we all including myself must continue educating one another &embrace uncomfortable conversations it’s the only way we ALL get better
— Nick Cannon (@NickCannon) July 13, 2020
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!????????
— Nick Cannon (@NickCannon) July 13, 2020
Since then, the TV personality struck back at ViacomCBS. He took to Facebook this morning to post a lengthy statement titled Truth and Reconciliation, asking for ownership of his MTV series Wild ‘N Out, in addition to an apology from a company. Canon wrote, “If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize. But now I am the one making demands. I demand full ownership of my billion dollar Wild ‘N Out brand that I created, and they will continue to misuse and destroy without my leadership! I demand that the hate and back door bullying cease and while we are at it, now that the truth is out, I demand the Apology!”
Cannon claims that ViacomCBS recently banned “all advertisement that supported George Floyd and Breonna Taylor who we are still seeking justice for.” He also stated that he personally reached out to ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone “to have a conversation of reconciliation and actually apologize if I said anything that pained or hurt her or her community,” and received no response.
However, in a comment to Variety, ViacomCBS claimed that Cannon did not attempt to connect with Redstone. “It is absolutely untrue that Nick Cannon reached out to the Chair of ViacomCBS,” said aViacomCBS spokesperson. ViacomCBS also addressed the issue of ads related to the deaths of Floyd and Taylor. A company spokesperson said that the ad block was related to the show called “Revenge Prank,” and that “we didn’t want to be insensitive by placing ads for it next to important and serious topics, such as Black Lives Matter. This is standard practice we use with our media agency to ensure that our ads don’t come across as tone-deaf or disrespectful.”
Cannon has been receiving support from many fans and claims that the Jewish community has vocalized their support for him as well. In his post, he mentioned an “outpouring of love and support from the Jewish community,” saying he has spoken with “Rabbis, clergy, Professors and coworkers” who have offered to help him.
What do you make of it all? Do you think Cannon deserved to be fired or that he should be given ownership of Wild ‘N Out? Let us know in the comments!