The television star and executive Nick Cannon was fired by ViacomCBS on Tuesday for remarks made during a recent podcast with Professor Griff, a former member of the pioneering hip-hop group Public Enemy.
“ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism,” the company said in a statement. “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."
Cannon had worked as an executive producer and chairman of TeenNick, a spinoff of the network Nickelodeon geared toward teenagers. He had also been a host and executive producer of the MTV comedy show “Wild ’N Out.”
In the 30 June episode of Cannon's Class, Cannon interviewed former Public Enemy rapper Professor Griff, who left the group in 1989 after saying in an interview that Jews were "wicked.”
Professor Griff claimed to Cannon that he was talking about Jews controlling the media, and said: "I'm hated now because I told the truth." Cannon added: "You're speaking facts."
Cannon also said the "Semitic people are black people", and that: "You can't be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people."
He addressed the controversy and termination in a statement by way of Twitter.
“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,” Cannon tweeted. “We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding.”
“Until then, I hold myself accountable for this moment and take full responsibility because my intentions are only to show that as a beautiful human species we have way more commonalities than differences,” Cannon added. “So let’s embrace those as well as each other. We All Family!”