ViacomCBS is cutting its relationship with TV host Nick Cannon over his rant based on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that aired on his podcast “Cannon’s Class,” which was posted to YouTube in June.
A spokesperson for the media giant said in a statement to HuffPost that Cannon “promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” during that episode.
“ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism,” the spokesperson said.
“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 spokesperson said, also noting that they spoke to Cannon about the podcast episode.
The host of Fox’s “Masked Singer’ was interviewing former Public Enemy group member Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin during the podcast. Griffin was kicked out of the rap group for making similar anti-Semitic comments in the late 1980s.
During the episode, Cannon claimed that Black people were the “true Hebrews” and referenced unfounded conspiracy theories about Jewish people, making reference to “the Rothschilds, centralized banking, the 13 families, the bloodlines that control everything even outside of America.”
Throughout the interview, Cannon said multiple times that the discussion was not about hate, though he continued making disparaging claims about non-Black Jewish people.
“The people that don’t have [melanin] are a little less,” Cannon said. He claimed that they were sent to the Caucasus, where “the sun then started to deteriorate them, so then they’re acting out of fear, they’re acting out of low self-esteem, they’re acting out of a deficiency.”
“They had to be savages,” Cannon later said.
During the episode, Griffin and Cannon praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who also had expressed anti-Semitic views.
HuffPost has reached out to Fox Broadcasting Co. for comment on Cannon’s remarks and statement.
After the resurfaced episode caused outrage over the weekend, Cannon addressed the controversy with a statement on his Facebook page.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intentions,” Cannon wrote, adding that he didn’t condone “hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric.”
“We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding,” the TV host said.
The Black and Jewish communities have both faced enormous hatred, oppression persecution and prejudice for thousands of years and in many ways have and will continue to work together to overcome these obstacles.
When you look at The Media, and other sectors in our nation’s history, African Americans and The people of the Jewish community have partnered to create some of the best, most revolutionary work we know today.
I am 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.
Cannon told FastCompany on Monday that a few rabbis have reached out to him since the backlash began, and he said he wanted to have them on his podcast to continue the conversation.
“My podcast is specifically an academic podcast to have tough and difficult conversations based off of text. And if we read something and something’s not accurate, let’s do away with it,” Cannon told FastCompany. “I can’t wait to sit down with some people that can help educate me and help further this conversation. I want to be corrected.”
The host also addressed criticism that his statement issued Monday didn’t contain a formal apology.
“What we need is healing,” he told the media site. “What we need is discussion. Correct me. I don’t tell my children to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ I want them to understand where they need to be corrected. And then that’s how we grow.”
Read Cannon’s full statement: