ViacomCBS Fires Nick Cannon, Citing Anti-Semitic Podcast Remarks

The network said that Mr. Cannon had promoted “hateful speech” during a recent episode of “Cannon’s Class,” his YouTube podcast.

Nick Cannon at a Black Lives Matter protest in Times Square in New York last month

Nick Cannon at a Black Lives Matter protest in Times Square in New York last month.Credit…Bryan R. Smith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

TV star Nick Cannon was fired by ViacomCBS on Tuesday for making anti-Semitic remarks during a recent podcast in which he discussed conspiracy theories about the Jewish people and praised a minister notorious for his anti-Jewish comments.

ViacomCBS is the parent company of MTV and the cable channel TeenNick, both of which have been displaying Mr. Cannon on various platforms for many years.

Mr. Cannon, 39, has been executive producer and chairman of TeenNick, a subsidiary of Nickelodeon’s teen-oriented network. He has also been the lead and executive producer of the MTV comedy show, Wild ’N Out.

ViacomCBS spokeswoman said the company strongly condemned 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,” she 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.”

On Monday, Twitter, Mr. Cannon said: “Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intentions.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Cannon said in a statement on Facebook that he “must apologize to my Jewish Brothers and Sisters for putting them in such a painful position, which was never my intention.”

“Systemic racism is what this world was built on and was the subject in which I was attempting to highlight in the recent clips that have been circulating from my podcast,” he said. “If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize.”

In a long statement, Mr. Cannon said that he “now receiving death threats, hate messages,” but also an “outpouring of love and support from the Jewish community.” He said he had “dedicated my daily efforts to continuing conversations to bring the Jewish Community and the African-American community closer together.”

Mr. Cannon said he was trying to speak with Shari Redstone, the controlling shareholder of ViacomCBS, “to have a conversation of reconciliation and actually apologize if I said anything that pained or hurt her or her community.” But he said he had heard “Dead Silence!” and that ViacomCBS “wanted to show me who is boss, hang me out to dry and make an example of anyone who says something they don’t agree with.”

He also accused the company of “mistreating and robbing our community for years” and of “underpaying talent on their biggest brands.” Mr. Cannon demands apology from ViacomCBS full brand ownership “Wild ’N Out” brand and an end to “the hate and backdoor bullying.”

Mr. Cannon, an actor and musician, is also the host of Fox show “The Masked Singer.” It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Cannon’s connection to the network was overestimated. Fox did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday night.

ViacomCBS fired Mr. Cannon after star receiver DeSean Jackson fined and punished star receiver DeSin Jackson for an anti-Semitic quote attributed to Hitler.

On June 30, in his podcast, Mr. Cannon interviewed rapper Richard Griffin known as Professor Griff, about his dismissal from the hip-hop group Public Enemy in 1989.

Mr. Griffin left the band after saying in an interview with The Washington Times: “The Jews are wicked. And we can prove this.” He also said that Jews are responsible for “the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”

In a conversation with Mr. Cannon, Mr. Griffin doubled his past comments on the influence of the Jewish people on the music and media industry.

“I’m hated now because I told the truth,” Mr. Griffin said.

“You’re speaking facts,” Mr. Cannon said. “There’s no reason to be scared of anything when you’re speaking the truth.”

Mr. Cannon said it’s a great honor for me to have Mr. Griffin’s “legend” on his podcast. He also said it was disappointing that Louis Farrahan, a minister known for his history of anti-Semitic comments, was silenced on Facebook.

Responding to Mr. Griffin’s claim that Jewish people control the six dominant media companies, Mr. Cannon said that this is comparable to the power of the Rothschilds, banking sioneers who are at the center of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

“I find myself wanting to debate this idea and it gets real wishy and washy and unclear for me when we give so much power to the ‘theys,’ and ‘theys’ then turn into illuminati, the Zionists, the Rothschilds,” Mr. Cannon said later in the podcast.

He also reiterated Mr. Griffin’s remarks that blacks are, by definition, Semites, and that Semites are not white.

“You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people,” Mr. Cannon said. “That’s our birthright. So if that’s truly our birthright, there’s no hate involved.”


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