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It’s been an intense few days for Nick Cannon. The popular host found himself at the center of a national conversation on race and anti-Semitism earlier this week when portions of a podcast interview he conducted with ex-Public Enemy member Professor Griff went viral in which he discussed melanin as an indicator of behavior, said Black people are the “true Hebrews” and referenced a conspiracy theory about the Rothschild family. He was fired by Viacom on Tuesday night for “promot(ing) hateful speech.” Now he’s fired back with an extended social media post, which demands full ownership of his show Wild ‘N Out and accuses Viacom of lying and trying to silence him.
The extended letter, which was posted to Facebook and can be read here, touches on Cannon’s more than twenty year relationship with Viacom. In it, he discusses the various highs and lows he had with the company, acknowledges executives who helped him along the way, demands to be given ownership over Wild ‘N Out and ultimately accuses executives of hanging him out to dry. Here’s a portion of his message…
“I also went as far to reach 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. Dead Silence! So that’s when I realized they don’t want a conversation or growth, they wanted to put the young negro in his place. 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.”
The comments he’s referring to came during a podcast episode of Cannon’s Class featuring Professor Griff, who left Public Enemy amidst an anti-Semitism controversy in the late 80s. During the more than hour long conversation, the two discussed a variety of issues, but the backlash has mostly focused on two segments: one in which the two referenced Melanin Theory and one in which they discussed anti-Semitism. Melanin Theory is pseudoscientific belief that melanin, which is a natural pigmentation that gives skin its color, is also at least partially a predictor of actions or behaviors. It’s considered by many to be a branch of Scientific Racism.
The podcast conversation around anti-Semitism covered a lot of sub-topics, but during it, Cannon said “it’s never hate speech. You can’t be anti-Semitic when you are the Semitic people. When we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.” The conversation also touched on some anti-Semitic conspiracy theories including bloodlines, centralized banking and the Rothschilds. Many of these theories have been making the rounds lately, and the topic was addressed recently in a thoughtful editorial from NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In Cannon’s open letter, however, he expresses a desire to be learn more and praised the “outpouring of love and support” he’s gotten from the Jewish community. He also says he’s invested in “making it right” and is planning a trip to Israel to receive “lessons” and “truth” about Jewish history. You can read that portion of his letter below…
“In a pleasant turn of events and the best blessing in all of this hurtful attack is the outpouring of love and support from the Jewish community. It has been amazing. I have 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, but I know this whole situation has hurt many people and together we will make it right. 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. Through the guidance of my multicultural team which embodies several people from the Jewish Community, specifically Michael Goldman my business partner for 3 decades who discovered me at the Hollywood Improv when I was doing Stand Up as a kid. Through thick and thin he has been by my side. Yelling at me when I talk too much and laughing with me as we’ve always overcome adversity together. I love you my brother, thank you for helping me become the man that I am today. And as we embark on this next “Ncredible” journey together we will bring our two persecuted communities together like we always planned. He and so many gracious people from the Jewish Community are showering me with love and helping to guide me to the Promise land, literally l am excited to announce that I have been invited to Israel which is a lifelong dream where I will receive teachings, lessons and truth about the Jewish history. As someone who is in pursuit for my PHD in Theology and Divinity and just received a degree in Criminal Justice from the Great Howard University, this will be an enriching, enlightening and overall exciting trip!”
Where things go from here is anyone’s guess. Fox, which is working with him on launching a talk show and broadcasts The Masked Singer, has not made any public comment about what happened on Cannon’s podcast. Viacom has also not responded to their ex-employee’s calls here to turn over Wild ‘N Out. Society, as a whole, has been wrestling with questions around forgiveness, cancel culture and education as many have protested in the streets for social justice and change. We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.