Nick Cannon Refuses to ‘Bow Down’ With Apology for Antisemitism, Says He ‘Can’t Be Responsible’ for Everything Louis Farrakhan Says
US media personality Nick Cannon is refusing to apologize for promoting Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and sharing a video that included antisemitic rhetoric after facing backlash from the Jewish community.
The 39-year-old host of Fox’s “The Masked Singer” recently shared on YouTube an interview he conducted last year with rapper Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin for Cannon’s podcast “Cannon’s Class.”
During the discussion, Griffin — who was kicked out of the hip hop group Public Enemy in 1989 for making antisemitic comments — made several remarks against Jews and outlined an antisemitic conspiracy theory about Black Africans being the real Jews.
Cannon, who also hosts the MTV show “Wild N’Out,” added fuel to the fire by voicing support for Griffin’s claim, taking aim at the Jewish Rothschild family — a common target of antisemitic conspiracy theorists — and slamming Jews for criticizing Farrakhan, a notorious antisemite who has referred to Jews as “termites.”
Amid the criticism he has been facing since the YouTube video was posted, Cannon on Monday attempted to defend himself on Twitter in a series of messages, none of which included a formal apology. The same day, he told Fast Money he would not “bow down” with an apology.
“To me apologies are empty. Are you forcing me to say the words ‘I’m sorry’? Are you making me bow down, ’cause then again, that would be perpetuating that same rhetoric that we’re trying to get away from,” Cannon said. “What we need is healing. What we need is discussion. Correct me. I don’t tell my children to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ I want them to understand where they need to be corrected. And then that’s how we grow.”
“You can say sorry in as many different languages as you want to, and it means nothing,” Cannon continued. “But until someone truly understands where they may have been wrong or where they may have offended someone, then that’s where growth occurs.”
Addressing his praise of Farrakhan, he said, “I can’t be responsible for however long Minister Farrakhan has been ministering and things that he said. That is his voice and his fight. I can only be held accountable for what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard.”
“I just want to focus on the positive aspects,” Cannon added. “But I condemn any hate speech. I don’t care who said it. I don’t care if my dad said it. I don’t care if Farrakhan said it. If anyone is saying something hateful or demonic, I don’t support that at all.”
Cannon said a few rabbis had reached out to him since the controversy erupted and he planned to have them as guests on his podcast.
He told Fast Money, “My podcast is specifically an academic podcast to have tough and difficult conversations based off of text. And if we read something and something’s not accurate, let’s do away with it. I can’t wait to sit down with some people that can help educate me and help further this conversation. I want to be corrected.”
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on Monday called on Cannon to apologize for his “harmful” comments.
Truly disturbing that @NickCannon would use his platform to perpetuate false antisemitic conspiracy theories and lift up the vehemently antisemitic Louis Farrakhan. He should apologize immediately and educate himself on why his comments are so harmful. https://t.co/5wkCjbQu8W
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) July 13, 2020
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) tweeted, “@NickCannon spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about ‘Rothschilds’ and ‘Zionists’ to millions of his followers is abhorrent and unacceptable. His message of hate has no place in our society and should be condemned by all people of good conscience.”
StandWithUs Israel Executive Director Michael Dickson said Cannon “willfully spread the most egregious antisemitic conspiracy theories & hate on his show.”
I’m no fan of cancel culture, but if you get cancelled for doing something racist without intent, what happens next for @NickCannon who willfully spread the most egregious antisemitic conspiracy theories & hate on his show? https://t.co/sgXFQ1xfoy @TMS_TV_USA @FOXTV @Power106LA
— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) July 13, 2020