After losing his ViacomCBS relationship earlier this week following comments that the company described as “hateful speech and…anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” Nick Cannon has apologized. “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,” the radio personality and (at least for now) former Wild ’N Out host tweeted Wednesday evening. “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.” The mea culpa is apparently enough for Fox brass, who have now announced Cannon will continue as the host of The Masked Singer.
On a recent episode of his podcast Cannon’s Class, Cannon said that people who have “the lack of pigment” are “a little less” than those who do, and have “a lack of compassion.... 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 they can act is evil. They have to rob, steal, rape...in order to survive.” Cannon also shared some thoughts about The Rothschilds—a Jewish family that rose to prominence in the 1700s and have been the subject of antisemitic conspiracy theories—and “the bloodlines that control everything, even outside of America.” He said that Black people are the “true Hebrews.”
When the backlash began earlier this week, Cannon tweeted: “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.” But it wasn’t enough for ViacomCBS, the company behind Cannon’s long-running MTV sketch comedy series Wild ’N Out, which he’s hosted since 2005 and recently expanded to VH1. “ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism,” reads a statement from the company given to Variety. “We have spoken with Nick Cannon [and] we are deeply troubled that Nick has failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.”
Cannon—who left his America’s Got Talent gig in 2017 after a disagreement with NBC over a joke in his Showtime comedy special—responded Wednesday morning by posting on Facebook that he was “deeply saddened” that ViacomCBS didn’t see the situation as an opportunity to “grow closer together and learn more about one another.” “Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked [sic] to make an example of an outspoken black man. I will not be bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed by any organization, group, or corporation,” he continued. “I am disappointed that Viacom does not understand or respect the power of the black community.” He went on to demand “full ownership of my billion dollar Wild ’N Out brand.”
After Cannon’s lengthy apology to the Jewish community later in the day (which is published in full on his Facebook), Fox appears to have taken another route with the situation. “When we were made aware of Nick Cannon’s interview with Richard Griffin on YouTube, we immediately began a dialogue with Nick,” Fox said in a statement, according to USA Today. “He is clear and remorseful that his words were wrong and lacked both understanding and context, and inadvertently promoted hate. 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.”
“I just had the blessed opportunity to converse with Rabbi Abraham Cooper director of global social action @SimonWiesenthal,” tweeted in the start of a second series of tweets later Wednesday, after news broke that he would keep his Masked Singer duties. “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.”