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Nick Cannon apologizes for anti-Semitic remarks after firing: 'I feel ashamed'

The TV host and producer said he is "ashamed" of the "hurtful and divisive" comments about Jews that he made on his podcast.
/ Source: TODAY

Nick Cannon apologized Wednesday night for comments he called "hurtful and divisive" after the television host and producer was dropped by ViacomCBS for remarks the company called anti-Semitic.

Cannon, 39, wrote in a Twitter thread that he was "ashamed" of comments he made on an episode of his "Cannon's Class" podcast with former Public Enemy member Richard "Professor Griff" Griffin in which they discussed racial bias.

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Nick Cannon has apologized for anti-Semitic comments after being fired by the parent company of MTV. Todd Williamson / Getty Images

In the podcast episode, which was recorded last year and aired June 30, Cannon said that Black people are the "true Hebrews," that Jews have taken their identity, and that those without dark skin "have a deficiency" and have acted as "savages" throughout history. He references "Jewish people, white people, Europeans."

"First and foremost I extend my deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth during my interview with Richard Griffin,'' he tweeted Wednesday night.

"They reinforced the worst stereotypes of a proud and magnificent people and I feel ashamed of the uninformed and naïve place that these words came from. The video of this interview has since been removed."

Cannon added that he is educating himself on Jewish history after being given an "eye-opening" lesson the past few days. He also thanked the rabbis and other Jewish leaders who reached out to "enlighten" him instead of "chastising" him.

He followed up with another tweet on Thursday saying he is taking time away from his radio show to commit to "deeper, more thorough reflection and education."

The "Drumline" star initially responded to being fired by ViacomCBS in a lengthy Facebook post earlier on Wednesday in which he said the company's "unwise decision" put the media conglomerate "on the wrong side of history." He demanded an apology and full ownership of "Wild 'n Out" on MTV and VH1.

"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," he wrote. "Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked to make an example of an outspoken black man."

ViacomCBS, the parent company of MTV and VH1, for which Cannon produced and hosted the comedy improv series "Wild 'n Out," announced Tuesday that it was cutting ties with him following his remarks in the podcast.

"ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism," the company said in a statement Tuesday. "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."

Following his Facebook post on Wednesday, Cannon took a more conciliatory tone in his Twitter thread later in the day.

"I want to assure my Jewish friends, new and old, that this is only the beginning of my education—I am committed to deeper connections, more profound learning and strengthening the bond between our two cultures today and every day going forward,'' he wrote.

Cannon also serves as host of the singing competition series "The Masked Singer" on Fox. The broadcast network said in a statement to TODAY that it intends to keep Cannon on.

"Nick has sincerely apologized, and quickly taken steps to educate himself and make amends," the statement reads. "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."

ViacomCBS did not immediately responded to a request for comment.