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ViacomCBS is ending its professional relationship of more than two decades with Nick Cannon over what the network has called “hateful speech” and “antisemitic remarks” made during one of his podcast episodes.
“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 confirmed in a statement on 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.”
The comments in question came during a June 30 broadcast where he discussed racial bias with former Public Enemy member Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin. In the hour-plus podcast, the pair argued that Black people are true Hebrews and that Jewish people have overtaken that identity.
In another part of the discussion, the 39-year-old musician claimed that people who lack melanin suffer a “little less,” but that those without dark skin have a “deficiency,” which forces them to live in fear and act out with violence.
“They had to be savages,” he said, clarifying that he was referring to “Jewish people, white people, Europeans” and others.
The “Cannon’s Class” episode that cost him his job was reportedly recorded at some point last year.
Cannon produced the long-running show, “Wild’n’Out” for Viacom’s cable channel VH1. It has run on MTV and VH1 since it debuted in 2005 and Season 15 premiered back in April. He has also previously appeared as the host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and Fox’s “The Masked Singer.”
Amid growing backlash over his comments, Cannon took to social media Monday afternoon in a bid to explain and defend himself.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malicious 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,” he wrote.
“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 added: “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.”
On Tuesday however, the former Nickelodeon star began retweeting messages from his supporters, including those calling to boycott the network.
In September, Cannon is slated to launch a syndicated daytime talk show with Debmar-Mercury.
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