Nick Cannon took to Facebook early Wednesday morning to defend himself after he was fired by ViacomCBS for a podcast episode that the company says, “promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.”
In a lengthy post, the host demanded “full ownership of my billion dollar Wild ‘N Out brand that I created,” and asked for an end to “the hate and back door bullying” and an apology.
In the post, titled “Truth and Reconciliation,” Cannon details his 20-year history as part of the Viacom family and says he’s upset that a moment that could lead to “reconciliation” and understanding was used to “make an example of an outspoken black man.”
“I am deeply saddened in a moment so close to reconciliation that the powers that be, misused an important moment for us to all grow closer together and learn more about one another,” Cannon wrote. “Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked to make an example of an outspoken black man.”
He claims that ViacomCBS “chose to recently ban all advertisement that supported George Floyd and Breonna Taylor who we are all still seeking justice for,” and says he even reached out to ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone “to have a conversation of reconciliation and actually apologize if I said anything that pained or hurt her or her community.” But he claims his request to speak with Redstone was met with silence.
A rep for Redstone says Cannon’s claim he reached out to Redstone is “absolutely untrue.”
His claim of a ban on ads supporting Floyd and Taylor seems to be a reference to this Wall Street Journal story about how Target and MTV blocked ads from news articles mentioning Floyd, “protests” and other terms on “blocklists.”
“So that’s when I realized they don’t want a conversation or growth, they wanted to put the young negro in his place,” Cannon wrote. “They wanted to show me who is boss, hang me out to dry and make an example of anyone who says something they don’t agree with. … Still, I honestly can’t believe that Viacom has such poor council that would allow them to make such a divisive decision in the midst of protests and civil uprising within our current pandemic. Truly an unwise decision.”
Cannon says he’s received an “outpouring of love and support from the Jewish community.”
“I must apologize to my Jewish Brothers and Sisters for putting them in such a painful position, which was never my intention, but I know this whole situation has hurt many people and together we will make it right,” he wrote. “I have dedicated my daily efforts to continuing conversations to bring the Jewish Community and the African American community closer together, embracing our differences and sharing our commonalities.”
He went on to say he’d been invited to Israel, where he says, “I will receive teachings, lessons and truth about the Jewish history.”
“As for Viacom, who is now on the wrong side of history, I will continue to pray for you,” he later wrote. “I don’t blame any individual, I blame the oppressive and racist infrastructure. Systemic racism is what this world was built on and was the subject in which I was attempting to highlight in the recent clips that have been circulating from my podcast. If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize.”
ViacomCBS on Tuesday terminated their longrunning relationship with Cannon after a conversation between Cannon and former Public Enemy member Richard Griffin (aka Professor Griff) in the July 30 episode of his podcast, Cannon’s Class, was deemed to contain racist and anti-Semitic language.
In a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, ViacomCBS said in part, “ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism. 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.”
In addition to his role as host of VH1’s improv competition series Wild ‘n Out, which was renewed in 2019 for three more seasons, Cannon hosts the Fox variety musical series The Masked Singer.
He is also set to produce and star in an unscripted series, Celebrity Call Center, for the E! network, and launch his own, eponymous syndicated daytime show with Lionsgate, which is set to premiere on Fox stations this fall.
This story was originally published in The Hollywood Reporter.