Nick Cannon is demanding full ownership of his MTV show “Wild ‘n Out” and an apology from ViacomCBS, which recently cut ties with him over anti-Semitic remarks and “hateful speech.”
“Now I am the one making demands,” Cannon wrote Wednesday morning in a lengthy Facebook post accusing ViacomCBS of targeting him as an “outspoken” Black man. “I demand full ownership of my billion dollar ‘Wild ‘N Out’ brand that I created, and they will continue to misuse and destroy 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, I demand the Apology!”
Cannon faced controversy this week over a conversation he had two weeks ago in which he talked about “non-melanated people” being “evil,” “a little less than” and “the true savages” who were “actually closer to animals.”
As part of his videotaped podcast “Cannon’s Class,” the host of TV show “The Masked Singer” spoke June 30 with Professor Griff, real name Richard Griffin, formerly the “Minister of Information” for the hip-hop group Public Enemy. It was a wide-ranging, 90-minute talk that touched on topics such as Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the Illuminati, the birthright of Black people and more. You can watch the whole conversation here.
Many on social media called both men out, however, for anti-Semitic comments that preceded the part of the conversation that got the bulk of the attention. Cannon called fellow Black people “the true Hebrews” while Griff explained that the anti-Jewish remarks that got him dropped from Public Enemy in 1989 weren’t rooted in hate and couldn’t have been anti-Semitic. Griff claimed that Semitic people have nothing to do with white people, and therefore a Black person can’t be anti-Semitic.
Amid a mounting backlash, Cannon apologized Monday on Facebook for his comments, writing: “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.
“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.”
After Cannon’s apology came ViacomCBS’s response announcing his termination Tuesday.
“ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism,” the media conglomerate said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “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. …
“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.”
On Wednesday, Cannon summarized his long history with ViacomCBS and declared he would “not be bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed by any organization, group, or corporation.” He went on to claim that he received no answer after reaching out to “Ms. Shari Redstone, the owner of Viacom, to have a conversation of reconciliation and actually apologize if I said anything that pained or hurt her or her community.”
ViacomCBS later told Variety it was “absolutely untrue that Nick Cannon reached out to the chair of ViacomCBS.” Cannon also accused the company Wednesday of banning advertisements seeking justice for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal earlier this month, ViacomCBS admitted to pulling ads because of a show called “Revenge Prank,” explaining, “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.”
Representatives for ViacomCBS and “Wild ‘n Out” did not immediately respond Wednesday to the Los Angeles Times’ request for comment.
In addition to his Facebook comments, Cannon was also active on Twitter on Wednesday, retweeting messages from fans defending him and threatening to boycott ViacomCBS in solidarity. Since the divisive “Cannon’s Class” episode aired and ViacomCBS fired him, Cannon said he has received death threats and hate messages calling him the N-word “and beyond.”
He also said he has experienced “an outpouring of love and support from the Jewish community” and “spoken with many Rabbis, clergy, Professors and coworkers who offer their sincere help.”
“I must apologize to my Jewish Brothers and Sisters for putting them in such a painful position, which was never my intention,” Cannon reiterated in his most recent Facebook post. “I know this whole situation has hurt many people and together we will make it right.”
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)