Nick Cannon Speaks Out Following Backlash Over Anti-Semitic Comments
By Liz Calvario
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Nick Cannon has come under fire for comments he made during an episode of his podcast, Cannon's Class. Cannon again took to Facebook on Wednesday to speak out after he received backlash for what people are calling anti-Semitic remarks. He also slammed ViacomCBS for firing him.
"I am deeply saddened 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 lenghthy 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 says 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."
As for his claim that ViacomCBS banned "all advertisements that supported George Floyd and Breonna Taylor who we are all still seeking justice for," the company believes he is referencing a Wall Street Journal story about them blocking ads. In regard to this, the network sent the statement they gave to the publication when the story was first published.
"Due to the comedic nature of the show we believe is in question Revenge Prank, we didn’t want to be insensitive by placing ads for it next to important and serious topics, such as Black Lives Matter," a spokesperson for ViacomCBS said in response to WSJ's article. "This is standard practice we use with our media agency to ensure that our ads don't come across as tone-deaf or disrespectful."
During his hour-plus podcast, which was reportedly taped last year and aired two weeks ago, 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.
"They had to be savages," Cannon said before noting that he was referring to "Jewish people, white people, and Europeans."
“The people that don’t have [melanin] are a little less,” Cannon said, claiming “when they were sent to the mountains of Caucasus. ...The sun then started to deteriorate them, 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 that they can act is evil. They have to rob, steal, rape, kill in order to survive," Cannon continued. "So then, these people that didn’t have what we have -- and when I say we, I speak of the melanated people -- they had to be savages … They’re acting as animals so they’re the ones that are actually closer to animals. They’re the ones that are actually the true savages."
Cannon's recent Facebook post goes on to claim that since the release of his controversial podcast episode, he has spoken to and received support from those within the Jewish community. He also apologizes for any hurt he may have caused.
"I must apologize to my Jewish Brothers and Sisters for putting them in such a painful position, which was never my intention, but I know this whole situation has hurt many people and together we will make it right," he wrote. "I have dedicated my daily efforts to continuing conversations to bring the Jewish Community and the African American community closer together, embracing our differences and sharing our commonalities."
Just after the release of the podcast, those on social media, including British rapper Zuby, started calling Cannon a "Black supremacist." Prior to his Wednesday post, and after he started to receive backlash for his podcast remarks, Cannon took to Facebook toinsist that he has "no hate" in his heart.
"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. We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding," the Masked Singer host wrote on his page. "The Black and Jewish communities have both faced enormous hatred, oppression persecution and prejudice for thousands of years and in many ways have and will continue to work together to overcome these obstacles."
Cannon added that he is an "advocate for people’s voices to be heard openly, fairly and candidly," and welcomed experts to "correct me in any statement that I’ve made that has been projected as negative."
"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, So let’s embrace those as well as each other. We All Family!??," he concluded.
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 on Tuesday in a statement. "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."
Amid the drama, Sean "Diddy" Combs reached out to Cannon to show his support -- and offer him a position at his network, Revolt TV.
".@NickCannon come home to @REVOLTTV truly BLACK OWNED!!!" Diddy tweeted on Wednesday. "We got your back and love you and what you have done for the culture. We are for our people first!!! For us! By US! Let’s go!!!"
Entertainment Tonight and ETonline.com are both owned by ViacomCBS.