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UPDATED: Actor and TV host Nick Cannon has struck back at ViacomCBS, hours after he was dropped by the media giant for making anti-Semitic comments on his podcast.
Cannon has asked for ownership of his MTV and VH1 series “Wild ‘N Out,” as well as an apology from the company.
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In a lengthy statement posted to his Facebook page early Wednesday, Cannon wrote, “If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize. But now I am the one making demands. 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!”
In the post, which is titled ‘Truth and Reconciliation,’ Cannon began by noting he is “deeply saddened in a moment so close to reconciliation that the powers that be, misused an important moment for us to all grow closer together and learn more about one another.”
“Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked [sic] to make an example of an outspoken black man. I will not be bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed by any organization, group, or corporation. I am disappointed that Viacom does not understand or respect the power of the black community,” he continued.
The performer alleges that ViacomCBS recently banned “all advertisement [sic] that supported George Floyd and Breonna Taylor who we are still seeking justice for.” Cannon also claims he personally reached out to ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone “to have a conversation of reconciliation and actually apologize if I said anything that pained or hurt her or her community,” and received no response.
ViacomCBS claims that Cannon did not attempt to connect with Redstone. “It is absolutely untrue that Nick Cannon reached out to the Chair of ViacomCBS,” a ViacomCBS spokesperson told Variety. In regard to the claim about ads related to the deaths of Floyd and Taylor, the ViacomCBS rep directed Variety to a statement in a July 12 Wall Street Journal story, in which a company spokesperson said that the ad block was related to ta show called “Revenge Prank,” and that “we didn’t want to be insensitive by placing ads for it next to important and serious topics, such as Black Lives Matter. This is standard practice we use with our media agency to ensure that our ads don’t come across as tone-deaf or disrespectful.”
Cannon goes on to list his achievements over the last 20 years, including executive producing and hosting Fox’s “The Masked Singer.”
“My hope and original goal was to use this moment to show healing and acceptance and prayed that Viacom would use their powers for good. Instead I am now receiving death threats, hate messages calling me an ungrateful [N—] and beyond,” said Cannon, who was retweeting messages of support from fans as well as critics calling him the N-word well into the early hours of Wednesday.
“Viacom’s goal to keep me from providing for my family and lineage will be foiled. They can try to kick me while I’m down or force me to kiss the master’s feet in public for shame and ridicule, but instead I stand firm on my square with my fist in the air repeating my mantra, ‘You can’t fire a Boss!’”
In his statement, Cannon also highlighted an “outpouring of love and support from the Jewish community,” noting he has spoken with “Rabbis, clergy, Professors and coworkers” who have offered to help him.
“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,” said Cannon. “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!”
A ViacomCBS spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that it was severing ties with Cannon after it emerged that the performer had said on his podcast that Black people are the “true Hebrews” in addition to discussing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories involving the Rothschild family.
“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,” said the company in a statement shared with Variety.
“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,” the company said.”
Manori Ravindran contributed to this report.
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