ViacomCBS has fired Wild ‘n Out host Nick Cannon over anti-Semitic comments he made in an episode of his podcast/YouTube series, Cannon’s Class.
In a statement to TVLine, a rep for the conglomerate said, “ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism. We have spoken to 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. We are committed to doing better in our response to incidents of anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry. ViacomCBS will have further announcements on our efforts to combat hate of all kinds.”
In an episode of Cannon’s Class posted to YouTube last month, Cannon alluded to several prominent anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including “the Rothschilds, centralized banking” and “the bloodlines that control everything, even outside of America.” He also insisted he could not be anti-Semitic and called for Black people to reclaim the term “Semitic”: “You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people… That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.” (Update: Cannon blasts ViacomCBS over firing, demands apology.)
After his comments surfaced over the weekend, Cannon defended himself in a statement on his Facebook page. “I am an advocate for people’s voices to be heard openly, fairly and candidly,” he wrote. “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. 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. 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.”
Last year, comedy improv competition series Wild ‘n Out — which launched on MTV before transitioning to sister cabler VH1 — was renewed for three more seasons (90 episodes total). Cannon also hosts Fox’s The Masked Singer.