Nick Cannon has found himself in the hot seat with his employer, ViacomCBS. In a statement released to PEOPLE, the mass media corporation revealed that it has parted ways with the 39-year-old television host after he made what the company deemed as anti-Semitism remarks during an episode of his YouTube channel’s “Cannon’s Class” series. Cannon, who has appeared on multiple networks owned by Viacom, struck back, demanding ownership of his comedy improv show, “Wild ‘N Out.”
The episode was released on June 30 but was flagged by a Jewish blogger on Sunday, July 12. During the 90-minute interview, Cannon made what some may consider anti-Semitic comments during a conversation with former Public Enemy member Richard Griffin, famously known as Professor Griff. Griffin was notably kicked out of his rap group in 1989 after an interview with The Washington Post where he was quoted saying Jews were responsible “for the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”
In the video, the two men discussed conspiracy theories including the theory of “the bloodlines that control everything, even outside of America.” Cannon responded to Griffin’s claims that Jewish people controlled major media companies and said it was comparable to the power of the Rothschilds and banking. Rothschilds have notably been at the center of conspiracy theories after the success of their Frankfurt bank.
“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,” Cannon said later in the podcast.
He also claimed that Black people were the “true Hebrews” and referred to white people as “animals” and “savages.” “They had to be savages. They had to be barbaric. Because they’re in the Nordic mountains, they’re acting as animals. They’re the ones that are actually closer to animals,” Cannon said at one point. He added, “That’s why they built up this not warrior, but conquering barbaric mentally.”
On Monday, July 13, Cannon took to Facebook and addressed the backlash he received from the now-viral episode. “Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intentions. I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric,” Cannon began. “We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding.”
Despite the negative criticisms garnered by his comments, Cannon seemingly stuck by his statements unapologetically calling himself an “advocate for people’s voices to be heard openly, fairly and candidly.” He continued, “I think we all—including myself—must continue educating one another and embrace uncomfortable conversations—it’s the only way we ALL get better.”
ViacomCBS, however, did not agree with Cannon’s views. The company released a statement saying, “ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind, and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism.”
The statement continued, “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.”
Still, not everyone was upset with Cannon’s remarks. Many felt that not only were Cannon’s claims not false, but Viacom’s decision to part ways with the producer could prove to be damaging. Twitter user Isha Thorpe who tweeted, “Wild N Out gave MTV and VH1 their highest rates and best content in recent years. So, good luck with that move. lol”
While, Jeneisha Harris tweeted, “Raping black babies, women & men is evil. Lynching black ppl and celebrating it is evil. Police killing Black people is evil.” She added, “Don’t get upset at Nick Cannon for saying that. Get upset at the people who did those things.”
Cannon addressed the controversial video yet again during an interview with Fast Company Wednesday morning. The actor doubled down, saying, “in a time like 2020, we got to have these conversations.” He added, “if there’s an assumption that is perceived as ignorant, let’s debunk it right away. I can’t wait to sit down with some people that can help educate me and help further this conversation. I want to be corrected.”
The producer is now requesting full ownership of his improv comedy show Wild’ N’ Out. In a lengthy Facebook post, “The Masked Singer” host claimed that Viacom “misused an important moment for us to all grow closer together and learn more about one another” and instead tried to “make an example of an outspoken Black man.” Cannon further accused the media giant of banning all advertising that supported George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“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,” Cannon said in the lengthy post.
He continued, “I was a member of the Viacom “Family” for over Twenty years. Since I was a minor, we worked together to make great positive entertainment and I was handed many opportunities that I am grateful for. We successfully brought the world closer together for over 9 years with every big-name celebrity and major corporation you could think of, truly one of my proudest accomplishments in entertainment.”
He added, “As for Viacom, who is now on the wrong side of history, I will continue to pray for you. I don’t blame any individual, I blame the oppressive and racist infrastructure. 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. If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize.”
Cannon concluded that he would fight for “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!”