Media Personality Nick Cannon Voices Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories in Online Video
Prominent US media personality Nick Cannon — a former host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” — posted a YouTube video last week of an interview with rapper Professor Griff that included several antisemitic statements.
Professor Griff was a member of the legendary hip hop group Public Enemy until he made a series of antisemitic and homophobic comments in the late 1980s, including, “If the Palestinians took up arms, went into Israel and killed all the Jews, it’d be alright,” “I think that’s why they call it ‘jewelry,’ because the Jews in South Africa, they run that thing,” Jews are responsible for “the majority of the wickedness that goes on across the globe,” “the Jews finance these experiments on AIDS with black people in South Africa,” and “the Jews have their hands right around [President George H. W.] Bush’s throat.”
In a lengthy interview with Cannon recorded last year and posted to YouTube on June 30, Professor Griff outlined an antisemitic conspiracy theory according to which Black Africans were the real Jews.
“I looked up who was the Semitic people, and there’s a list of Semitic people, and anyone can do this right now, you can look up who are the Semitic people, what are the Semitic languages — [they have] absolutely nothing to do with any white people,” he said.
“The Semitic people are black people,” Cannon claimed, appearing to accuse Jews of using antisemitism accusations “to divide us.”
Professor Griff then said he got his information from the “research department” of the Nation of Islam, the virulently antisemitic black supremacist group.
“Now we’re talking about ‘The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,’” Griff said, referring to a Nation of Islam-sponsored book that, among other things, asserted that Jews controlled the African slave trade.
Of his controversial statements from the 1980s, Griff recalled he had been asked, “Who controls the music industry?
“Well what am I supposed to say?” he continued.
He added that, during one interview, the interviewer’s “girlfriend walks in, and his girlfriend’s white and Jewish. … Now his white Jewish girlfriend is sitting next to him, and she’s getting offended by me calling out the Cohens and the Moskowitzs.”
Cannon chimed in, “You’re just speaking facts. There’s no reason to be scared of anything when you’re speaking the truth.”
Cannon also slammed Jews for criticizing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has referred to Jews as “termites.”
He charged that the “Honorable Minister Farrakhan” was being “silenced” and “neutralized.”
“If we’re the true Children of Israel,” Cannon added, “why is it such a problem to speak the truth?”
“It’s more a problem for them, because they’ve taken our birthright,” Griff replied.
Cannon said, “They don’t want us to be them.”
“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,” Cannon continued. “We’re the true Hebrews.”
Cannon also took aim at the Jewish Rothschild family, a common target of antisemitic conspiracy theorists, saying, “When we talk about the Rothschilds, centralized banking, the 13 families, the bloodlines that control everything even outside of America.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center commented to The Algemeiner, “Anyone seeking a PhD in Jew-hatred should watch this ‘interview’ in its entirety.”
Pointing to the Nation of Islam leader as the origin of Griff and Cannon’s ideology, Cooper said, “Farrakhan’s hate is on full display in the next generation through cultural figures and social media.”
In a Twitter thread on Monday, Cannon went into damage-control mode, 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.”
“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 added.
“When you look at The Media, and other sectors in our nation’s history, African Americans and The people of the Jewish community have partnered to create some of the best, most revolutionary work we know today,” Canon said. “I am an advocate for people’s voices to be heard openly, fairly and candidly. In today’s conversation about anti-racism and social justice, I think we all including myself must continue educating one another &embrace uncomfortable conversations it’s the only way we ALL get better.”
“I encourage more healthy dialogue and welcome any experts, clergy, or spokespersons to any of my platforms to hold me accountable and correct me in any statement that I’ve made that has been projected as negative. 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!” he concluded.
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