Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Wild, Anti-Semitic, and In? Nick Cannon’s PR Parade to “Forgiveness” for Anti-Semitic Talk In Full Bloom


Nick Cannon really wants to get back in, ASAP.

One day he was calling Jews names on his YouTube channel, the next day he was chatting with rabbi’s.

One day he was fired by Viacom from all his MTV/VH-1 and Nickelodeon duties. The next day? A prop-up story in Variety with positive quotes from Chris McCarthy, president of entertainment and youth brands at ViacomCBS.


It’s unclear, of course, if McCarthy spoke to Shari Redstone, the owner of Viacom, since her father just died. Shari ordered Cannon’s firing. Maybe he didn’t realize that Redstone’s first husband, the father of her children, was a rabbi. She’s really Jewish. No kidding.

On the podcast, Cannon — interviewing a former member of Public Enemy who was fired himself for anti Semitic comments — endorsed many anti-Semitic tropes and backed anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. And not for the first time. He called Blacks the “real Hebrews” and white people “Savages.”

He said on the podcast: “They had to be savages, they had to be barbaric, because they’re in these Nordic mountains, they’re in these rough environments, so they’re acting as animals,” he said. “So they are the ones that are actually closer to animals, they are the ones that are actually the true savages.”

Well, that was a month ago. Immediately after the news broke that Viacom had obliterated a big part of his career and income earning, Cannon went on an apology campaign. He enlisted Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, and crisis managers. A scheduled syndicated TV show, produced by people who happen to be Jewish, was postponed. Cannon narrowly hung on to his hosting job with “The Masked Singer,” but of course, that’s at Fox, where there are no standards too low.

The next guests we saw on the “Cannon’s Class” podcast were rabbis from the Wiesenthal Center. Nick dressed in a bright red hooded outfit, looking like Aladdin. Clearly there were unseen hands in the background, pushing to save Nick’s career and the money that had been invested in him.

And now: is all forgiven? Someone is pushing this in the trade press. When the McCarthy story surfaced tonight, you could hear the sound of conference calls. Will Shari Redstone just say ‘all is forgiven’? Something tells me she won’t be so quick to acquiesce to McCarthy and Viacom execs who want Nick back, pronto. This will be quite instructive.

But in one month did Nick Cannon change his whole point of view? The same Nick Cannon who said the next day — while his career was burning down– that he was going to sue Viacom for ownership of “Wild n Out” even though he’d sold it to them a long time before?

Read McCarthy’s statement, as reported by Variety. Wow, the push is on to make this all go away. But a lot of us are not going to forget. But you can tell, there are forces that really, really want to sweep this all away.

“Let me start with stating the important and hopefully obvious fact – what Nick said was wrong, hurtful, and it was offensive. We have to stand up for our values – clear and simple. Hate against one of us is hate against any of us and Nick’s comments were anti-Semitic. So, we needed to stand up to that and we did that which was the right thing to do.

“I don’t know if anyone has been following Nick’s journey since the incident – I have, and the thing that’s unique about Nick – different from many others, is that Nick owned it. He apologized, he said it was wrong. He has since been on a journey of learning and understanding, and more importantly, he is using his voice to help educate other people and is becoming an advocate on this issue. This is consistent with the Nick I’ve known for ten years.

“As I look back on all of this, I regret that we didn’t have our new “Cultural Code” built sooner. It’s a shame that it took an incident like this for us to take a step back and have a clear process in place to address issues like this. Part of that came from when I asked myself – ‘what could we have done that would have made it better or what can we do to prevent this from happening in the future?’

“I struggle with the fact that Nick, a longtime partner and friend of ours, is on this journey and we’re not part of that journey. And that’s honestly where the our new ‘Cultural Code’ came from and bringing in social justice partners so we all have the base-level education. And, if I could change anything, I would have asked us to build that two years ago.”

McCarthy later continued:

“We’re in the content business and we all understand the power of telling stories. The gift that we have as storytellers is to transport audiences into new worlds and experiences – enabling them to walk in someone else’s shoes. And when we do this well, we can give the gift empathy and understanding. And we do this all the time, as we will see from the upcoming video. And we have been doing it for years, from the early days of Real World, to 16 and Pregnant, to what Trevor (Noah) does every day. We help other people understand the world we live in. And we need to step up even more.

“So, when I take a step back, I am hopeful. I am hopeful we find a way to bring these two things together and hopefully we will have the opportunity to do that with Nick again.”


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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