Nick Cannon apologies for Anti-Semitic comments; Fox stands behind ‘The Masked Singer’ host
Nick Cannon will continue to host Fox’s top-rated reality competition series “The Masked Singer,” the network confirmed on Wednesday. The news that Cannon would stay on “Masked Singer” comes after the host issued an apology online for anti-Semitic comments he made on a podcast.
“When we were made aware of Nick Cannon’s interview with Richard Griffin on YouTube, we immediately began a dialogue with Nick,” the network said in a statement. “He is clear and remorseful that his words were wrong and lacked both understanding and context, and inadvertently promoted hate. This was important for us to observe. Nick has sincerely apologized, and quickly taken steps to educate himself and make amends. 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. Fox condemns all forms of hate directed toward any community and we will combat bigotry of any kind.”
Cannon posted his apology a day after ViacomCBS terminated a long-term relationship it had with the star, which included the long-running sketch comedy series “Nick Cannon’s Wild ‘n Out.” ViacomCBS made the move following an exchange between Cannon and former Public Enemy member Professor Griff on the June 30 episode of Cannon’s podcast “Cannon’s Class.” At one point, Cannon said Black people are the “true Hebrews” and talked about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories involving the Rothschild family.
“It’s never hate speech, you can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people,” Cannon said. “When we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.”
In his apology, posted on Wednesday evening, Cannon said he now felt “ashamed” for those statements. “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. 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.
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“While the Jewish experience encompasses more than 5,000 years and there is so much I have yet to learn, I have had at least a minor history lesson over the past few days and to say that it is eye-opening would be a vast understatement. I want to express my gratitude to the Rabbis, community leaders and institutions who reached out to me to help enlighten me, instead of chastising me. 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.”
Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury hasn’t yet revealed whether its plans had changed regarding its new daytime talk show “Nick Cannon,” set to debut on Monday, Sept. 21, in more than 90% of U.S. local markets. The prolific Cannon is also a producer and appears in E!’s “Celebrity Call Center,” a new reality show that just launched this week. And he continues to host a daily radio show for Meruelo Media’s KPWR-FM (Power 106), which is syndicated nationally.
Cannon is also an executive producer on “Masked Singer,” and has been with the show since its launch in January 2019. “Masked Singer” became a quick hit, and a cornerstone of Fox’s schedule — so much so that the series was given the plum slot behind the Super Bowl earlier this year.
“The Masked Singer” has aired 42 episodes over three seasons so far, with Cannon as host of all of them. He also fronted “The Masked Singer: After the Mask,” an after show that aired on Fox this spring. For his work on “The Masked Singer,” Cannon was nominated for best host at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, as well as best host for this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards. He was also part of the production team nominated last year for a Producers’ Guild award.
In a social media post early Wednesday, Cannon said he left NBC and “America’s Got Talent” (which he previously hosted) after he says he felt the network “threatened and mistreated me for years,” and that he then “took my talents and executive creativity to my open minded and willing partners at the Fox Television network to create the current #1 hit show on television “The Masked Singer” in which I host and executive produce.”
“The Masked Singer” has been in pre-production, which includes casting and prep work, but it’s not believed to have resumed taping just yet.
Cannon’s career has encompassed acting, stand-up comedy, sketch, music, radio hosting and more — with past credits including “America’s Got Talent.” He told Variety’s Cynthia Littleton earlier this year that he wasn’t looking for another network variety show to host after he ended an eight-season run on “AGT.”
“I was really meticulous about what I would want to host again in the space of nonscripted variety since I had done it on the biggest level with ‘AGT.’ I didn’t want to jump in and host another talent show,” Cannon told her.