ViacomCBS fires Nick Cannon following release of antisemitic podcast

ViacomCBS said in a statement: “We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast ‘Cannon’s Class’ on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Nick Cannon (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Nick Cannon
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Actor and television host  Nick Cannon was fired from ViacomCBS, MTV’s parent company, after he released a podcast that contained antisemitic statements and conspiracy theories.
"We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast ‘Cannon’s Class’ on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread antisemitic conspiracy theories," The New York Times quoted a ViacomCBS statement as saying. “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 antisemitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.”
In his "Cannon’s Class” video podcast that was released late June Cannon interviewed “Professor Griff” Griffin, who performed with the rap group Public Enemy. Griffin was kicked out of Public Enemy in 1989 for making antisemitic remarks in an interview with The Washington Post. In the interview he reportedly said that Jews were responsible “for the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”
Griffin said that he was “speaking facts” about “the Cohens and the Moskowitzes,” and said that “I’m hated now because I told the truth.”
Cannon praised the rapper for having “the most substance and weight in speaking unapologetically… and you stuck to your guns,” Jewish Insider reported.
Moreover, Cannon also called black people the “true Hebrews."
He said that “it’s never hate speech, you can’t be antisemitic when we are the semitic people. When we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright, we are the true Hebrews.”
Cannon also praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, saying that “every time I’ve heard him speak, it’s positive, it’s powerful, it’s uplifting,” and that Farrakhan “has been demonized.” Farrakhan has called Jews “termites” and denounced the “Synagogue of Satan.”
The podcast sparked major backlash and Cannon took to Facebook and Twitter to defend himself on Monday just before he was fired.
"Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intention. 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.
He further talked about the shared hatred that the "black and Jewish communities" have faced throughout time.
"When you look at The Media, and other sectors in our nation’s history, African Americans and The people of the Jewish community have partnered to create some of the best, most revolutionary work we know today," Cannon wrote.
Cannon added that he is "an advocate for people’s voices to be heard openly, fairly and candidly. In today’s conversation about anti-racism and social justice, I think we all - including myself - must continue educating one another and embrace uncomfortable conversations - it’s the only way we ALL get better.
"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. Until then, I hold myself accountable for this moment and take full responsibility."
The post didn't prevent ViacomCBS from firing Cannon, with whom they've been partnered with for two decades, according to USA Today. Under ViacomCBS the 39-year-old actor and former America's Got Talent host, his career with the network included presence with MTV and Nickelodeon, and started with the comedy show Wild N' Out which began airing in 2005, Forbes reported.
Currently Cannon also hosts the American TV series The Masked Singer, through Fox. Whether Fox will decide to take similar action as ViacomCBS still remains unclear.
This is not the first time Cannon has faced criticism over his views, however. In 2013, the antisemitism watchdog Anti-Defamation Leagued slammed Cannon for appearing in a New Black Panther Party video, which the watchdog has called “the nation’s largest antisemitic and racist black militant group,” Jewish Insider reported.

Marcy Oster/JTA contributed to this article.