Nick Cannon has been fired by ViacomCBS over anti-Semitic remarks Cannon made on his podcast, Cannon’s Class. In the episode, which was filmed last year but posted two weeks ago, Cannon was in conversation with rapper Professor Griff, who left Public Enemy in 1989 after making similar anti-Semitic comments in a Washington Post interview. Cannon asserted the truth of a number of 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 hateful, because “Semitic people are black people.” “You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people,” he said. He also voiced admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
In a statement on Facebook yesterday, Cannon addressed the episode, writing, “I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric,” but did not directly apologize for the podcast episode, instead saying, “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.” Cannon elaborated on his thoughts in a statement to Fast Company, saying, “There’s no malice or negative intent, but 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.”
ViacomCBS responded to the controversy today in a statement announcing that they have “terminated” their relationship with Cannon. “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 statement said. Cannon had a longstanding relationship with ViacomCBS, including hosting shows on Nickelodeon and MTV like Wild ‘N Out and Lip Sync Battle Shorties.