Nick Cannon isn’t going down without a fight. Hours after media giant ViacomCBS ended its long-running relationship with him for making anti-Semitic comments on his podcast, the multi-hyphenate comedian, TV and radio host, rapper, producer and entrepreneur is fighting back.
Cannon was fired for remarks he made on the June 30 episode of his Cannon’s Class podcast, in which he interviewed former Public Enemy member Professor Griff, who left the rap group after making anti-Semitic remarks. In the podcast, Cannon said Blacks were “the true Hebrews,” saying, “It’s never hate speech, you can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people. When we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.”
In the same podcast, Cannon said white people were "a little less," saying, "When they were sent to the mountains of Caucasus, when they didn’t have the power of the sun … So then they’re acting out of fear, they’re acting out of low self-esteem, they’re acting out of a deficiency. So therefore, the only way they can act is evil. They have to rob, steal, rape kill … in order to survive.” He added, “They’re the ones that are actually closer to animals."
ViacomCBS released a statement announcing they were severing their partnership with Cannon, saying “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.”
On Tuesday, Cannon tweeted that he has “no hate in my heart nor malice intentions. I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric” and “I hold myself accountable for this moment and take full responsibility.” However, later in the day he began retweeting messages of support and criticism of ViacomCBC’s actions. Then in the early hours of Wednesday, he posted a lengthy Facebook post to defend himself and demand "full ownership of my billion dollar Wild ‘N Out brand that I created," and an end to "the hate and back door bullying."
In the Facebook post, Cannon said ViacomCBS "misused an important moment for us to all grow closer together and learn more about one another" and instead "the moment was stolen and highjacked [sic] to make an example of an outspoken black man. I will not be bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed by any organization, group, or corporation. I am disappointed that Viacom does not understand or respect the power of the black community."
He added, "Viacom’s goal to keep me from providing for my family and lineage will be foiled. They can try to kick me while I’m down or force me to kiss the master’s feet in public for shame and ridicule, but instead I stand firm on my square with my fist in the air repeating my mantra, 'You can’t fire a Boss!'"
In the post, he also claimed that Viacom recently banned all advertisements that supported George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. He also reiterated his apology to the Jewish community and said he 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" but received no response. “It is absolutely untrue that Nick Cannon reached out to the Chair of ViacomCBS,” a ViacomCBS spokesperson told Variety.
Cannon has a 20-year history with Viacom, starting as an actor on Nickelodeon in the ’90s, and more recently with the improv competition series Wild ‘N Out. He's also hosted Fox's The Masked Singer and NBC's America’s Got Talent, and is expected to star in a new unscripted E! series called Celebrity Call Center, and a syndicated daytime talk show this fall with Debmar-Mercury. Just last month, he was on the cover of Variety talking about his multiple successes.