This is the kind of story that makes me doubt my own cultural literacy. Until the controversy involving Nick Cannon, I had never heard of the guy, and wouldn’t recognize him if he walked into my living room. Yet he’s been around for 20 years as a juvenile TV star, a rapper, comic, actor, producer, director, the TV host of all sorts of shows I didn’t watch, and since 2012 he’s had his own show on MTV called “Wild and Out.” He also has a podcast.
The news that ViacomCBS had fired Cannon resonated throughout the popular media, and qualifies, apparently, as a Big Deal. In the June 30 installment of Cannon’s podcast, “Cannon’s Class,” he interviewed Professor Griff, a rapper who was a part of the group Public Enemy before being forced out after he said in an interview with The Washington Times, “The Jews are wicked. And we can prove this.” He also said that Jews were responsible for “the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”
“I’m hated now because I told the truth,” Griffin told Cannon, who was immediately sympathetic. “You’re speaking facts,!” Cannon said. “There’s no reason to be scared of anything when you’re speaking the truth.”
After referring to Dr. Griff as a “legend,” Cannon said he wished that Louis Farrakhan, the anti-white demagogue with a long history of anti-Semitic comments, had not been blocked by Facebook.
Then Cannon endorsed Griffin’s contention that six dominant media companies were controlled by Jews, comparing it to the power of the Rothschilds, the banking family at the center of various anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. “I find myself wanting to debate this idea and it gets real wishy and washy and unclear for me when we give so much power to the ‘theys,’ and ‘theys’ then turn into illuminati, the Zionists, the Rothschilds,” Cannon said later in the podcast.
Got it. He’s an anti-Semite.
That podcast was signature significance. Those who are not anti-Jewish bigots don’t say things like that, praise Louis Farrakhan, or tell rappers who say that Jews are the cause of the “majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe” that they are speaking “truth.” Not even once.
ViacomCBS, the parent company of MTV and the cable channel TeenNick, both of which have prominently featured Cannon for years, said through a spokesperson that because Cannon had refused to acknowledge or apologize for his statements on the podcast, the company, which ” categorically denounced all forms of anti-Semitism,” was terminating its relationship with him.
Cannon initially responded this week on social media by saying that he has “no hate in my heart nor malice intentions” and doesn’t condone hate speech. He also said that he holds himself “accountable for this moment” and takes full responsibility for his actions. Then he began getting support from the Twitter mob and elsewhere, so thus emboldened, he posted a defiant message on Facebook, saying in part,
“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!”
Calling his screed “Truth and Reconciliation,” Cannon began by writing that 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.” He continued,
“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,…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 [and]hate messages….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!’”
The rest of the post was devoted to quoting the supporting messages of his fans, reciting his many successes, and claiming 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 communityrecieving no response (which ViacomCBS denies).
In the latest chapter of this fiasco, Fox announced that Cannon would keep his job as host of its moronic competition “The Masked Singer” because Cannon had apologized.
Fox blathered that it believes this moment “calls for dialogue,” and will help Cannon advance what it called an important conversation. “When we were made aware of Nick Cannon’s interview with Richard Griffin on YouTube, we immediately began a dialogue with Nick,” Fox said. “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.”
1. Cannon revealed himself as an anti-Semite. There’s no controversy about that. His remarks were unequivocal, and the there is no “context” that can justify them. The man is 39; he’s not going to be educated if he’s still spouting anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and defending Louis Farrakhan.
2. His apology was ridiculous, as pure and perfect a version of a Level Ten apology on the scale as one could imagine:
An insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply, and to deceive his or her victims into forgiveness and trust, so they are vulnerable to future wrongdoing.
It was also another iteration of Rationalization #44, “It isn’t what it is,” Nah, Cannon has “no hate in my heart nor malice intentions,” he merely said he agrees that Jews are wicked.
3. ViacomCBS had to fire him. It would have been wildly irresponsible not to do so. No company in the United States, and especially not one in a communications and entertainment business, can ethically continue to promote an employee who expresses approval and admiration when a podcast guest spouts unequivocal anti-Semitic opinions.
4. Fox, to be blunt, is a pathetic, venal, principle-free whore. “The Masked Singer” is a big hit, so it will blithely pretend that it is not hosted by a blatant anti-Semite to avoid messing with a successful formula. Following Cannon’s Facebook rant, how could they possibly say that his apology was sincere without giggling.
5. Finally, Cannon, as so many African Americans have been programmed to do, quickly defaulted to “systemic racism” as the reason for his dismissal, and played the race card to “Get Out Of Accountability Free.” If he believes that, he is illustrating the tragedy of how blacks in the U.S. have been crippled by, first, a culture that too often has been biased against them, and second, their own leadership that has encouraged a mindset of blaming others for every personal failure, mistake, setback or misfortune.
If he doesn’t believe it, but is just exploiting the current madness of the George Floyd Freakout to weasel out of responsibility for his own words, he’s truly despicable. Cannon is playing victim while trying to exacerbate racial distrust and simultaneously attempting to benefit from it.
Now I know who Nick Cannon is.