After TV host and producer Nick Cannon was dropped by ViacomCBS over statements the company called “anti-Semitic,” the 39-year-old is speaking out about his firing.
Cannon, whose termination was announced late Tuesday, issued a response in a lengthy post Wednesday on Facebook, in which he said ViacomCBS’ “unwise decision” put the media conglomerate “on the wrong side of history.” He demanded an apology and full ownership of his show “Wild ‘n Out” on MTV and VH1.
“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,” he wrote. “Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked to make an example of an outspoken black man.”
ViacomCBS, whose assets include MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and BET, cut ties with the “Drumline” star due to remarks made on an episode of his “Cannon’s Class” podcast, recorded last year and aired June 30. Canon said that Black people are the “true Hebrews,” that Jews have usurped their identity, and commented that those without dark skin “have a deficiency” and have acted as “savages” throughout history. He references “Jewish people, white people (and) Europeans.”
ViacomCBS announced July 14 that it had cut ties with Cannon and “condemns bigotry of any kind.”
“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,” the company said in statement obtained by NBC News.
“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.”
After the podcast episode aired, Cannon took to social media Monday to address his comments, writing: “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.”
In his Facebook post two days later responding to his firing, Cannon said he received an “outpouring of love and support from the Jewish community” and issued an apology to those he hurt.
“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.”
Cannon, who has hosted and produced “Wild ‘n Out” since 2005 and appeared on Nickelodeon in various aspects since he was an actor in the ’90s, then reflected on his 20-year relationship with Viacom. “Wild ‘n Out” became the “most successful Hip Hop programming in Television History,” he wrote, but his “ownership (of the show and brand) was swindled away.”
“For Viacom to be so deceptive is no surprise,” he continued. “They have been mistreating and robbing our community for years, underpaying talent on their biggest brands like Love & Hip Hop, all of BET programming and of course, Wild ‘N Out.”
Cannon alleged the company banned “all advertisements that supported George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.”
When reached by TODAY, a ViacomCBS spokesperson said: “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. This is standard practice we use with our media agency to ensure that our ads don’t come across as tone-deaf or disrespectful.”
He also accused ViacomCBS of “flat out (lying)” when the company said in its press release that Cannon “failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism.”
“On two separate occasions I specifically acknowledged and openly requested a forum to be corrected,” he wrote. Cannon added that he attempted to have a conversation Viacom chair Shari Redstone but was met with “Dead Silence!” A ViacomCBS spokesperson told TODAY this claim is “absolutely untrue.”
Cannon has been part of TV shows not related to ViacomCBS, including Fox’s “The Masked Singer” and NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” He exited “AGT” in 2017 and claimed in his post Wednesday that NBC “threatened and mistreated” him during is time there. NBC had no comment. NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC News.
Concluding his post, Cannon blamed the “the oppressive and racist infrastructure” for his firing and demanded full ownership of the “Wild ‘n Out” brand and an apology.
“Wild ‘n Out,” created and hosted by Cannon, first aired on MTV in 2005 and switched to VH1 in 2019. ViacomCBS did not immediately respond to TODAY’s request for comment on whether the show will continue after Cannon’s firing.
by Maura Hohman