Nick Cannon has taken “full responsibility” for several controversial remarks he made on his YouTube show, which were deemed “anti-Semitic” by many and led to him being dropped by U.S. broadcaster ViacomCBS.
The Masked Singer U.S. host found himself at the centre of backlash following the comments on his show Cannon’s Class, when he stated that white people are “savages” and “a little less” than darker-skinned people.
“The people that don’t have (melanin) are a little less,” Cannon said, claiming, “When they were sent to the mountains of Caucasus … 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.
“So, therefore, the only way that they can act is evil. They have to rob, steal, rape, kill in order to survive. So then, these people that didn’t have what we have – and when I say we, I speak of the melanated people – they had to be savages… They’re acting as animals so they’re the ones that are actually closer to animals. They’re the ones that are actually the true savages.”
British rapper Zuby was among those slamming Cannon for his comments, and Mariah Carey’s ex-husband responded to the controversy in a post on his Facebook page – but avoided directly apologizing in his carefully-worded statement.
“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. We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding,” he wrote. “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.
“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 concluded: “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, So let’s embrace those as well as each other. We All Family!”
The scandal also resulted in Cannon’s decades-long relationship with ViacomCBS, the parent company of Nickelodeon and the producers of his show Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out, coming to an end.
“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,” a ViacomCBS spokesperson told Entertainment Tonight 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 apologise 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.”