Nick Cannon Posts Apology to Jewish Community After Controversial Comments
By Liz Calvario
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Nick Cannon is apologizing to the Jewish community after he received backlash for what people are calling anti-Semitic remarks. In a lengthy statement posted on social media Wednesday, the Masked Singer host extended his "deepest and most sincere apologies" to those he's offended.
"First and foremost 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 began. "They reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed and naïve place that these words came from. The video of this interview has since been removed."
He admitted that there "is so much I have yet to learn," explaining that he's had a "minor history lesson over the past few days and to say that it is eye-opening would be a vast understatement."
Cannon expressed his gratitude to rabbis, community leaders and institutions that reached out to him to "enlighten" him "instead of chastising me."
He concluded by assuring his Jewish friends, new and old, "that this is only the beginning of my 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 separate tweets, Cannon added that he spoke with Rabbi Abraham Cooper, director of global social action at Simon Wiesenthal Center, and also apologized to him and the Jewish community.
"On my podcast I used words & referenced literature I assumed to be factual to uplift my community instead turned out to be hateful propaganda and stereotypical rhetoric that pained another community," he tweeted. "For this I am deeply sorry but now together we can write a new chapter of healing."
I just had the blessed opportunity to converse with Rabbi Abraham Cooper director of global social action @SimonWiesenthal My first words to my brother was, I apologize for the hurt I caused the Jewish Community....
On my podcast I used words & referenced literature I assumed to be factual to uplift my community instead turned out to be hateful propaganda and stereotypical rhetoric that pained another community For this I am deeply sorry but now together we can write a new chapter of healing
Cannon's controversy began after he released the latest episode of his podcast, Cannon's Class, which was reportedly taped last year and aired two weeks ago. In the hourlong conversation, Cannon and Richard "Professor Griff" Griffin, a former Public Enemy member, argued that Black people are the true Hebrews and that Jews have usurped their identity.
The discussion then turned to skin color. "And I'm going to say this carefully," Cannon began before claiming that people who lack a certain amount of melanin are "a little less." He went on to state that those without dark skin have a "deficiency" that has caused them in the past to act out violently.
Fox, which works with Cannon on the Masked Singer, also released a statement Wednesday, explaining that they had been in talks with the show's host.
"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," the statement reads. "This was important for us to observe. Nick has sincerely apologized, and quickly taken steps to educate himself and make amends. 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."
Just after the release of the podcast, those on social media, including British rapper Zuby, started calling Cannon a "Black supremacist." Cannon has spoken out twice following the backlash, as well as slammed ViacomCBS for firing him.
The backlash from his comments led to ViacomCBS, Nickelodeon's parent company, cutting ties with Cannon, who had recently been named chairman of TeenNick.
"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," a ViacomCBS spokesperson told ET in a statement Tuesday. "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."
Cannon wrote on Facebook on Wednesday morning that he was "deeply saddened" about the company's move.
"In a moment so close to reconciliation that the powers that be, misused an important moment for us to all grow closer together and learn more about one another. Instead the moment was stolen and high jacked to make an example of an outspoken Black man," Cannon began his lengthy message, which detailed his relationship with ViacomCBS and other networks. "I will not be bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed by any organization, group, or corporation."
While Cannon stated in his post that he reached out to Sumner Redstone, the chair of ViacomCBS, to "have a conversation of reconciliation" and apologize if what he said on his podcast was offensive to him, ViacomCBS tells ET in a statement that this is "absolutely untrue."
For more on Cannon's controversy, watch the video above.
Entertainment Tonight and ETonline.com are both owned by ViacomCBS.