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ViacomCBS drops Nick Cannon, cites 'anti-Semitic' comments

Last Updated Jul 15, 2020 at 1:54 am EDT

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2018, file photo Nick Cannon poses for a portrait in New York. Cannon's “hateful speech” and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories led ViacomCBS to cut ties with the performer, the media giant said. “ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism," the company said in a statement Tuesday, July 14, 2020. It is terminating its relationship with Cannon, ViacomCBS said. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES — Nick Cannon’s “hateful speech” and anti-Semitic theories led ViacomCBS to cut ties with the TV host and producer, the media giant said.

“ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. It is terminating its relationship with Cannon, ViacomCBS said.

The company’s move was in response to remarks made by Cannon on a podcast in which he and Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin, the former Public Enemy member, discussed racial bias. The podcast reportedly was filmed last year and aired two weeks ago.

“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,” ViacomCBS said.

“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,” the company said.

Cannon produced “Wild ’n Out,” a comedy improv series for VH1, a ViacomCBS-owned cable channel. He’s been a regular part of TV shows unconnected to the company, including as the former host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and host of Fox’s “The Masked Singer.”

There was no immediate response to requests for comment made to a representative for Cannon and to him through his website. Fox also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

As controversy over his podcast began to bubble up Monday, Cannon replied in a Facebook post.

“I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric … 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,” he wrote.

In the lengthy post, Cannon also said he welcomed being held accountable for his statement and that held himself accountable “for this moment and take full responsibility.”

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Lynn Elber, The Associated Press