When Nick Cannon was fired by ViacomCBS for relaying conspiracy theories about the Jewish community that some considered anti-Semitic, it appeared that a longtime working relationship between him and the company was permanently severed.
But at a town hall meeting with employees on Monday, Aug. 17, Chris McCarthy, president of entertainment and youth brands at ViacomCBS, said he’s hopeful that he and Cannon will work together again.
“I don’t know if anyone has been following Nick’s journey since the incident. I have, and the thing that’s unique about Nick, different from many others, is that Nick owned it,” said McCarthy, according to Variety.
“He apologized, he said it was wrong. He has since been on a journey of learning and understanding, and more importantly, he is using his voice to help educate other people and is becoming an advocate on this issue,” he continued. “This is consistent with the Nick I’ve known for ten years … I struggle with the fact that Nick, a longtime partner and friend of ours, is on this journey and we’re not part of that journey.”
“The Masked Singer” made his comments about the Jewish community on his “Cannon’s Class” podcast, Tuesday, June 30, while speaking to Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin, formerly of Public Enemy. Griffin was kicked out of the rap group in 1989 for saying that Jewish people were responsible “for the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.” He made those comments during an interview with The Washington Post.
“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 told Griffin, referencing the wealthy Jewish banking dynasty that’s often mentioned when Jewish conspiracy theories are relayed.
“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,” added Cannon. “That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.”
ViacomCBS fired Cannon on Tuesday, July 14, which was revealed in a statement given to People.
Then one day later, Cannon issued a lengthy Facebook post, where he demanded an apology from the company and full ownership of MTV’s “Wild ‘n Out.”
The longtime entertainer created the show, which is under the ViacomCBS umbrella, and hosted it since its inception in 2005.
Shortly after demanding ownership, Cannon posted another message on Twitter, apologizing for what he told Griffin, saying his words were “hurtful” and “divisive.” He sent that message around the same time Fox said they’d keep him on as host of “The Masked Singer.”
Some people, including rapper Waka Flocka, came down on Cannon for apologizing.
Cannon then had Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center on his “Cannon’s Class” podcast to talk about what he told Griffin. The “Drumline” star also sat down for an interview with the American Jewish Committee, in a video posted to YouTube earlier this month.
During the town hall meeting, McCarthy mentioned that ViacomCBS implemented a “Cultural Code,” and has partnered with social justice experts to give employees a “base-level” education on inclusion and diversity. He also talked about the company’s desire to marry storytelling with social issues in the future and hopes that Cannon can be a part of that transition.
“So when I take a step back, I am hopeful we find a way to bring these two things together, and hopefully we will have the opportunity to do that with Nick again,” McCarthy stated.
Besides creating and hosting “Wild ‘n Out,” Cannon was a creative partner for Nickelodeon kids’ programming unit, a network that’s under ViacomCBS.