Nick Cannon fired by ViacomCBS over 'anti-Semitic' comments

The firing came after comments he made on his recent YouTube podcast.

July 15, 2020, 10:53 AM

Nick Cannon has been fired by ViacomCBS.

The media company announced that they have cut ties with the 39-year-old, who hosts the MTV show "Wild 'N Out," after the June 30 episode of the actor's YouTube series, "Cannon's Class," featuring Public Enemy rapper Richard "Professor Griff" Griffin, raised a few eyebrows.

In the YouTube video, Cannon and Griffin discussed conspiracy theories including those about Jewish people.

Cannon said that Black people are the "true Jews" and shared his belief that Black people are "Semitic people."

"You can't be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people," he said. "That's our birthright. So if that's truly our birthright, there's no hate involved."

He also stated that white people are "a little less" than Black people because they lack melanin in their skin, among other comments.

In a statement to "Good Morning America," a ViacomCBS spokesperson said, "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," their statement continued. "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."

The media company added that it is "committed to doing better in our response to incidents of anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry" and said it will release more on its "efforts to combat hate of all kinds."

Before Cannon's firing, the father of two issued a statement taking accountability for his comments and urging others to not shy away from "uncomfortable conversations."

PHOTO: In this Dec. 10, 2018 photo, Nick Cannon poses for a portrait in New York to promote promoting his new show, "The Masked Singer."
In this Dec. 10, 2018 photo, Nick Cannon poses for a portrait in New York to promote promoting his new show, "The Masked Singer."
Amy Sussman/Invision/AP, FILE

"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," Monday's statement read. "I hold myself accountable for this moment and take full responsibility because My intentions are... to show that... we have way more commonalities than differences."

In a Facebook post, Cannon said 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," he wrote. "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."

He later appeared to respond to the backlash from his comments and his firing, outlining his relationship with ViacomCBS in a lengthy Facebook post Wednesday, in which he stated that the network is "on the wrong side of history."

"If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize. But now I am the one making demands," he wrote. "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!" he added.

"Good Morning America" has reached out to Nick Cannon and will update when we hear back.