After making anti-Semitic comments during a recently released episode of his podcast, Nick Cannon has been fired by ViacomCBS. The controversial episode of Cannon’s Class was reportedly recorded last year but was released two weeks ago. It made the rounds on social media on Tuesday afternoon.
During the podcast, Cannon discussed a host of conspiracy theories, including one involving the Rothschild family, who established banking and finance houses throughout Europe during the 1700s. He also discussed his admiration of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, stating his dismay that he’s been silenced on Facebook. His guest on the episode was Professor Griff, a former member of the rap group Public Enemy. In 1989, Griff was removed from the group after making anti-Semitic comments.
“It’s never hate speech, you can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people,” Cannon says during the podcast. “When [Black people] are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.”
He wrote a statement on Facebook pertaining to the controversy, saying “I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric...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 a statement to Fast Company, he did not apologize for his rhetoric on the podcast, explaining that an apology is “empty” and forces him to “bow down.”
In a later statement sent via Facebook, Cannon urged an apology from ViacomCBS and demanded full ownership of his show, Wild ‘N Out. (“[ViacomCBS] will continue to misuse and destroy [the show] without my leadership! I demand that the hate and back door bullying cease and while we are at it, now that the truth is out,” he wrote.)
“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,” a statement from ViacomCBS provided to Variety reads.
Cannon has gigs with the major media corporation’s affiliate networks Nickelodeon and MTV, serving as the chairman of teen-centered television network TeenNick since 2009 and working on programs such as Wild ‘N Out and Lip Sync Battle Shorties. He got his start on Nickelodeon as a cast member on All That in 1998, and went on to host his own show on the channel in 2002, aptly titled The Nick Cannon Show.
Fox, the home of Cannon’s most recent prominent hosting gig, The Masked Singer, has not commented on the recent developments.