ViacomCBS drops Nick Cannon, cites ‘anti-Semitic’ comments

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2018, file photo Nick Cannon poses for a portrait in New York. Cannon's hateful speech and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories led ViacomCBS to cut ties with the performer, the media giant said. ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism," the company said in a statement Tuesday, July 14, 2020. It is terminating its relationship with Cannon, ViacomCBS said. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2018, file photo Nick Cannon poses for a portrait in New York. Cannon's hateful speech and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories led ViacomCBS to cut ties with the performer, the media giant said. ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism," the company said in a statement Tuesday, July 14, 2020. It is terminating its relationship with Cannon, ViacomCBS said. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP, File) (2018 Invision)

LOS ANGELES – Nick Cannon apologized late Wednesday for “hurtful and divisive” anti-Semitic comments that led ViacomCBS to cut ties with the TV host and producer.

“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,” Cannon said in a series of tweets addressing his remarks on a podcast that was released last month.

He issued the apology hours after demanding an apology from ViacomCBS, which late Tuesday condemned him and said it was cutting ties with the host, with whom it had a more than 20-year working relationship.

Cannon said his apology came after discussions with Jewish leaders and he vowed to become more informed. “I am committed to deeper connections, more profound learning and strengthening the bond between our two cultures today and every day going forward,” he said on Twitter.

ViacomCBS cut ties with Cannon in response to his remarks on a podcast in which he and Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin, the former Public Enemy member, discussed racial bias. The podcast was recorded in May 2019 and released on June 30.

The men contended that Black people are the true Hebrews and Jews have usurped that identity. Cannon then argued that lighter-skinned people — “Jewish people, white people, Europeans” — “are a little less” and have a “deficiency” that historically caused them to act out of fear and commit acts of violence to survive.

“They had to be savages,” he said.

Jewish leaders including the Anti-Defamation League and prominent rabbis criticized the remarks.