The "Wild 'N Out" host was called out over anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and comments seen as racist -- ViacomCBS says after he failed to apologize they terminated their relationship with him.
UPDATE 7/15/2020 11:13 PM
One day after ViacomCBS pulled the plug on their relationship with Nick Cannon, saying that the "Wild 'N Out" host "failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism" when they contacted him, Fox had an entirely different response and is standing behind their "Masked Singer" host.
After an initial response to the controversy on Tuesday that was not an apology, where Cannon asked to be "corrected" for any of his remarks that were wrong, it looks like that's exactly what happened.
Cannon said that he was educated and enlightened by several leaders of the Jewish community. As a result, he's deleted the original podcast and apologized with a lengthy statement released via Twitter and his Instagram Stories.
"I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth during my interview with Richard Griffin," he said.
"They reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed and naive place that these words came from."
He said that a "minor history lesson" proved beyond eye-opening for him and promised it would serve as just the beginning of his education. "I am committed to deeper connections, more profound learning and strengthening the bond between our two cultures today and every day going forward."
In a statement released Wednesday night to multiple outlets, including Deadline, Fox said, "When we were made aware of Nick Cannon’s interview with Richard Griffin on YouTube, we immediately began a dialogue with Nick. He is clear and remorseful that his words were wrong and lacked both understanding and context, and inadvertently promoted hate."
"This was important for us to observe. Nick has sincerely apologized, and quickly taken steps to educate himself and make amends," the network continued. "On that basis and given a belief that this moment calls for dialogue, we will move forward with Nick and help him advance this important conversation, broadly. Fox condemns all forms of hate directed toward any community and we will combat bigotry of any kind."
ORIGINAL STORY 7/15/2020 2:28 AM
On June 30, Nick Cannon got into a conversation with former Public Enemy Professor Griff on his podcast "Cannon's Class," and on Tuesday that conversation cost him his relationship with ViacomCBS.
Griff was booted from the iconic rap group in 1989 after anti-Semitic remarks and it looks like those same sentiments have cost Cannon at least some of his professional work; in particular his "Wild 'N Out" show, which had just been picked up for three new seasons by VH1.
Referring to white people as "savages" and "barbaric," Cannon said that those with a "lack of pigment" were "a little less" than dark-skinned people, going on to say that they have "a lack of compassion."
"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 and [unintelligible] in order to survive," he continued.
"They're the ones that are actually closer to animals, they're the ones that are actually the true savages," he said, per TMZ.
Calling Black people the "true Hebrews," Cannon further suggested that it's not possible for Black people to be anti-Semitic because "we are the Semitic people... That's our birthright." He also talked anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds and "the bloodlines that control everything, even outside of America."
ViacomCBS said in a statement received by TMZ, "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. We are committed to doing better in our response to incidents of anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry. ViacomCBS will have further announcements on our efforts to combat hate of all kinds."
As the backlash mounted over the weekend when the interview was resurfaced, Cannon took to social media to talk more about what he was trying to say on his podcast, and invited anyone to come on and correct him.
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"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 said. "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."
The "Masked Singer" host went into more depth afterward in an interview with Fast Company, where he reiterated, "There's no malice or negative intent, but in a time like 2020 we got to have these conversations. And if there's an assumption that is perceived as ignorant, let's debunk it right away."
One of the points of contention was Cannon's stated praise for Louis Farrakhan while at the same time saying he has no hate or malice in his heart. Cannon suggested that it's possible to condemn Farrakhan's hate speech, which he does, while still admiring other aspects and messages the minister has shared.
"I just want to focus on the positive aspects," Cannon said.
As for the lack of apology that ViacomCBS said has resulted in their decision to terminate their relationship with Cannon, he 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."
Instead of apologies, Cannon argued that we need healing and discussion. "Correct me. I don't tell my children to say, 'I'm sorry.' I want them to understand where they need to be corrected. And then that's how we grow."
He said that several rabbis had reached out to him in the wake of his conversation and he was looking forward to having them on his show. "I want to be corrected," he argued.
"My podcast is specifically an academic podcast to have tough and difficult conversations based off of text. And if we read something and something's not accurate, let's do away with it," he said. "I can't wait to sit down with some people that can help educate me and help further this conversation."
Cannon has his supporters on social media, who quickly slammed ViacomCBS for severing ties with him, with many of them even agreeing with his sentiments and some even noting that it looks like "Wild 'N Out" was immediately pulled from the air.
Still others condemned his statements, as ViacomCBS has done. Following is a cross section of some of the online chatter that saw Cannon's name trending at number one on Twitter:
White people are mad at Nick Cannon like they haven't said the same thing about black and brown people, they haven't whitewashed Jesus, they haven't colonized the world, they haven't shoved Eurocentric beauty standards down our throats.
I stand by Nick Cannon. PERIOD. Tucker Carlson and Rush Limbaugh spew RACIST venom for YEARS and have NEVER been fired even on CBS radio. But a Black man in a popular position speaks up for his people, as Nick consistently has, you come for HIM? GTHOH https://t.co/A1dlBav4Od
One day, I’mma tell my grandkids how Nick Cannon lost his job quicker than the cops who killed George Floyd and Breonna Taylor on the same day the president defended the Confederate Flag & police brutality. And they’re gonna look at me and say:
Nick Cannon said white people are evil & they pressed the button on him IMMEDIATELY. They said if the Black community won’t cancel him then they’ll do it themselves & had his contracts deaded by end of business day. This is when the community should rally around & uphold him tbh.
Nick Cannon says white people are "a little less," "closer to animals," "the true savages," "acting out of a deficiency so the only way they can act is evil." When does he get canceled? pic.twitter.com/vK3TBDW9i8
Pay attention to this Nick Cannon incident. Black people we need to own our platforms. Imagine not even “BET” (a “black” network) couldn’t even pick him up now because they are 1) not black owned 2) under the Viacom umbrella.
Nick Cannon gets immediately fired by Viacom (and Wild N Out was their best show btw), yet Tucker Carlson who spews some of the most dangerous anti-Black racism, and he gets to take a "long vacation" until news of the racism cools down https://t.co/rrGt4hlmwK