The Masked Singer is returning for its fourth season on September 23 along with Nick Cannon, who will once again host the (highly bizarre) singing competition—despite backlash following antisemitic remarks he made this past summer. Here’s a quick refresher on what Nick said, his subsequent apology, and what impact the controversy has had on his multiple hosting jobs.
Nick Cannon Made Antisemitic Remarks During His Podcast
The comments were made during the June 30 episode of the podcast Cannon’s Class, where Nick interviewed rapper Professor Griff and discussed antisemitic rhetoric and conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Nick said, “It’s never hate speech. You can’t be antisemitic when we are the Semitic people, when we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.”
ViacomCBS Fired Him Over the Comments
ViacomCBS (the parent company of MTV and TeenNick) fired Nick from his position as executive producer/chairman of TeenNick as well as from his hosting and EP positions on Wild ’N Out.
The company said the following in a statement:
“We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast Cannon’s Class on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread antisemitic 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 antisemitism, and we are terminating our relationship with him.”
Cannon Apologized and Criticized ViacomCBS
The Masked Singer host tweeted an apology on July 13, saying, “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.”
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.
— Nick Cannon (@NickCannon) July 13, 2020
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!🙏🏾
— Nick Cannon (@NickCannon) July 13, 2020
On July 15, he followed up this tweet with multiple Facebook posts, including an expression of his “deepest and most sincere apologies” to the Jewish community. He also explained that he’d been in touch with Rabbi Abraham Cooper and said he realized that his comments furthered “hateful propaganda and stereotypical rhetoric.”
Nick went on to criticize ViacomCBS for firing him in a lengthy post, a portion of which follows:
“I am 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 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 also issued an additional apology to the Jewish community and ended his post saying, “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!”
ViacomCBS Said It Hopes to Work With Him Again
In late August, ViacomCBS president of entertainment and youth brands, Chris McCarthy, implied that the company wants to work with Nick again, saying he was “hopeful” they could find a way to rebuild their partnership.
“I don’t know if anyone has been following Nick’s journey since the incident—I have, and the thing that’s unique about Nick, different from many others, is that Nick owned it. He apologized, he said it was wrong. He has since been on a journey of learning and understanding, and more importantly, he is using his voice to help educate other people and is becoming an advocate on this issue. This is consistent with the Nick I’ve known for 10 years.”
FOX Announced That It’d Stand Behind Him
FOX (which airs The Masked Singer) released a statement of support for Nick on July 15, revealing that it had no plans to cut ties with him over his comments:
“When we were made aware of Nick Cannon’s interview with Richard Griffin on YouTube, we immediately began a dialogue with Nick. He is clear and remorseful that his words were wrong and lacked both understanding and context and inadvertently promoted hate. This was important for us to observe. Nick has sincerely apologized and quickly taken steps to educate himself and make amends. On that basis and given a belief that this moment calls for dialogue, we will move forward with Nick and help him advance this important conversation, broadly. FOX condemns all forms of hate directed toward any community and we will combat bigotry of any kind.”
He Took Time Away From His Radio Show
On July 16, Nick revealed that he’d be taking some time away from his radio show in order to “commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education.” He returned to the show in early September, saying, per Variety, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do. I’ve been going through it and I’ve been growing through it. As we’ve been saying—we atoning, y’all. We making the right decisions for 2020.”
Morning radio family. I have decided to take some time away from my radio show so I can commit myself to deeper, more thorough reflection and education.
— Nick Cannon (@NickCannon) July 16, 2020
Meanwhile, Nick’s daytime talk show was pushed to 2021. The show’s producer, Debmar-Mercury, confirmed this on July 17, saying, per Variety, “The ‘Nick Cannon’ talk show will not debut this year. After conversations with Nick, we do believe that his public comments don’t reflect his true feelings and his apology is heartfelt and sincere. We want to continue the healing process as he meets with leaders of the Jewish community and engages in a dialogue with our distribution partners to hear their views. We are standing by Nick in our hope that by fall 2021 he will be able to use his extraordinary talent and platform to entertain, enlighten, and unite his audience on the ‘Nick Cannon’ talk show.”
We’ll be updating this article when/if more information comes out about the status of Nick’s various projects. Until then, tune in to The Masked Singer on Wednesdays.
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