Television host Nick Cannon has opened up about antisemitic comments made in 2020, calling the resultant backlash a “growth moment.”
The host of “The Masked Singer” was fired from his television job for a brief period by ViacomCBS after making antisemitic comments during an episode of his “Cannon’s Class” podcast featuring an interview with former Public Enemy member Professor Griff. During the discussion, they referred to African Americans as the “true Hebrews” and Cannon’s rhetoric included antisemitic conspiracy theories.
Cannon, 39, the former husband of singer Mariah Carey, endorsed the claim that “the Rothschilds … control everything outside of America.”
Cannon and Griffin went on to defend Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan from allegations of antisemitism, denying that anti-Jewish bigotry constitutes antisemitism, claiming that “Semitic people are black people.”
“You can’t be antisemitic when we are the Semitic people,” Cannon said.
Cannon later apologized to the Jewish community and visited a Holocaust museum after which he was rehired by ViacomCBS.
Speaking to AllHipHop, Cannon described continuing to learn from his hateful words and gaining perspective on why what he said was offensive.
“Man, I’m going to be super honest with you, man. That process was a growth moment for me, on so many levels as a man,” he said.
He added that he has partnered with ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on antisemitism education with their “2 Hate or Not 2 Hate” co-hosted podcast.
“It’s really talking about the equation of our two communities from two different perspectives,” Cannon said. “We voice our side, or the perspective as a Black man, and then he voices his side from a Jewish man. Just even that alone is helpful and educational for both communities.”
Cannon said “engagement” between both communities was essential.
“We can sit up here and be enraged, but if we don’t engage, what are we really doing, if we can’t even learn from one another? And clearly, we all know the issues, we all know the tropes, we all know the stereotypes,” he said.
“I’m really putting my money where my mouth is and my energy to where my heart is. To me, that situation says, ‘All right, I’m done talking. Everybody talk. Let’s figure it out, let’s solve it. What’s the problem?’”