Nick Cannon Says He’s Searching for ‘Teshuvah’ But Not Asking for Forgiveness After Making Antisemitic Comments
TV personality Nick Cannon said on Tuesday night he is seeking repentance as he reflected on the antisemitic comments he made last summer.
“I’m not seeking forgiveness, I’m seeking for-growth,” he said on the ABC special “Soul of a Nation.” “I’ve always said that apologies are empty.”
In June, Cannon made antisemitic remarks during an interview on his podcast, “Cannon’s Class.” He said Black people are the “true Hebrews” and that they could not be antisemitic because they are “Semitic people.” He also referenced antisemitic conspiracy theories, slammed Jews for criticizing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and questioned the birthright of Jewish people alongside his guest, rapper Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin, who was kicked out of the rap group Public Enemy in 1989 over antisemitic comments.
Following his offensive remarks, Cannon — who was at the time hosting the MTV show “Wild ‘N Out” — was fired by ViacomCBS, while the launch of his syndicated daytime talk show was postponed. Cannon posted an apology shortly after on Twitter and Facebook, after initially refusing to apologize.
The host of “The Masked Singer,” who is now pursuing a master’s degree in divinity, said on Tuesday that he’s not looking for forgiveness from the Jewish community, but is hoping to make up for his comments through teshuvah, a Jewish concept of repenting for one’s sins.
“In Hebrew they call it, you know, teshuvah, the process of not only you know, repenting, but through that — if you’re ever met with a similar situation that you make a different decision,” Cannon explained to ABC News co-anchor Linsey Davis. “That goes beyond apologizing. And I’m on this journey of atonement because it’s the right thing to do.”
When asked about his claim that Black people could not be antisemitic, Cannon replied, “The purpose first was to say we are all the same people. That’s ultimately was what I was saying, like, how can you hate when you believe that you come from the same people that are saying you’re being hateful.”
Davis then asked, “Is that your belief that it is the birthright of the Black people?”
Cannon responded that “One thing that can’t be debated is that we all originated from Africa.”
Asked about other recent incidents of Black celebrities who have been criticized for antisemitic remarks, Cannon said, “It’s definitely ignorance. I don’t believe it’s hatred, it’s frustration.”