ViacomCBS severed ties with television star Nick Cannon for making anti-Semitic comments. A recent episode of his podcast, Cannon’s Class, surfaced over the weekend in which the celebrity pushed conspiracy theories about “the Rothschilds, centralized banking, the 13 families, the bloodlines that control everything even outside of America.” ViacomCBS said in a statement: “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 was a fixture on various ViacomCBS platforms for years, as the host and executive producer of the MTV comedy show Wild ‘N Out and as executive producer and chairman of TeenNick, a spinoff of Nickelodeon geared towards teenagers.
The episode of Cannon’s Class, filmed over a year ago but posted on June 30, features a conversation with rapper Richard Griffin, known as Professor Griff, who left Public Enemy in 1989 after proclaiming Jewish people are responsible for “the majority of the wickedness that goes on across the globe” in an interview with the Washington Times.
“I’m hated now because I told the truth,” Griffin told Cannon in the podcast interview.
“You’re speaking facts,” Cannon responded. “There’s no reason to be scared of anything when you’re speaking the truth.”
Cannon said Black people are the “true Hebrews” and voiced support for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who is known for his history of anti-Semitic comments. He insisted that the conversation was not hateful, because, “Semitic people are black people. You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people.”
Amidst the backlash to his comments, Cannon has refused to issue an apology. “I encourage more healthy dialogue and 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,” he wrote on Facebook.
Cannon elaborated in an interview with Fast Company, saying, “There’s no malice or negative intent, but in a time like 2020 we got to have these conversations.” When asked about his apology-less Facebook post, Cannon responded, “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 also hosts The Masked Singer on Fox, but thus far the network has kept mum on whether his role is being reevaluated. Cannon did take to Facebook again in the early hours on Wednesday to advocate for ownership of Wild ‘N Out, which he developed for MTV and VH1. “If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize,” he wrote. “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 added that he’s received an “outpouring of love and support from the Jewish community” since the controversy, as well as an invitation to Israel, “which is a lifelong dream.” “As for Viacom, who is now on the wrong side of history,” Cannon wrote. “I will continue to pray for you.”