This one’s for the people who think PC and cancel culture only go one way. 

Late Tuesday, ViacomCBS cut ties with Nick Cannon after he made anti-Semitic statements on his podcast while interviewing Professor Griff, the former member of Public Enemy, who was kicked out of the rap group for saying Jewish people were responsible “for the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.” On the June 30th episode of Cannon’s Class, Nick said Black people are the “true Hebrews.”

 

"It’s never hate speech, you can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people. When we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.”

In the same episode Nick said white people are “a little less” than melanated people and claimed that deficiency led to fear and lack compassion.

“When they were sent to the mountains of Caucasus, when they didn’t have the power of the sun … So then they’re acting out of fear, they’re acting out of low self-esteem, they’re acting out of a deficiency. So therefore, the only way they can act is evil. They have to rob, steal, rape kill … in order to survive.” Adding, “They’re the ones that are actually closer to animals.”

Nick spent much of Tuesday retweeting messages of support, along with some tweets calling him the n-word, while issuing his own series of statements.

 

Nick goes on to acknowledge that the Black and Jewish communities have both faced “enormous hatred, oppression, persecution and prejudice.”  He also says these communities have partnered to create revolutionary work, especially in the media, and that we must educate each other. That’s why he’ll continue to embrace uncomfortable conversations with experts on his platforms to hold him accountable. 

And he tells Fast Company that since the incident a few rabbis have reached out since the controversy and he’s planning to have them on his podcast. 

However, his tweets weren’t enough for ViacomCBS, who’s he’s been working with since his Nickelodeon days in the 90s, and for much of the last 15 years with his popular Wild ’n Out sketch comedy and improv series airing on MTV, MTV2 and VH1. Tuesday, the company released a statement to Variety, reading in part:

“ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism … 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.”

There’s been a growing spotlight on anti-Semitism in the media since the election of Donald Trump, but even more so in light of a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement. In his most recent Hollywood Reporter column, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pointed out Ice’s Cube day-long Twitter rant in early June with included “creepy symbols and images” implying Jewish people were responsible for the oppression of Black people. That was on the cusp of a larger conversation about Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, as many on social media were posting his pro-Black quotes and speeches, despite that fact that Farrakhan is notoriously anti-white, anti-gay, and anti-Semitic. 

 

As Kareem notes, even Chelsea Handler, herself Jewish, posted videos of Farrakhan as a means of promoting her pro-Black values, but by extending the reach of an anti-Semite isn’t the subliminal message anti-Semitic? In response to praising Louis Farrakhan on his podcast, Nick Cannon related it to his relationship with his televangelist father, who died in 2016, telling Fast Company:

“I love my father unconditionally. There are some things that he raised me with that are powerful and that I hold to. And there are some things where I’m like, I don’t agree with none of that,” Cannon says. “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.”

Some of us can perhaps understand that mentality. How many us have defended that person in our lives who everyone else thinks is a total d-ck? We say, ‘But they’ve always been nice to me…’ Louis Farrakhan has always been pro-Black, but his history of blaming other marginalized people in his fight for Black equality is long, and disgusting. In the era of Black Lives Matter preaching the mantra “SILENCE IS VIOLENCE,” by cherry-picking the messages that work in our favour, what sentiment are we really sending here? 

“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist”

We’re hearing that Angela Davis quote a lot lately. Jewish people have often been used as the scapegoat throughout history, so we cannot turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism in the fight for racial equality. I look to the Black community to be at the forefront of the civil rights movement, lifting other minority groups as we push forward.