Nick Cannon Slams 'Deceptive' ViacomCBS After Firing, Addresses Anti-Semitic Remarks
"I will not be bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed by any organization, group, or corporation," he said in a lengthy statement
Nick Cannon is speaking out about his ViacomCBS termination.
"I am deeply saddened in a moment so close to reconciliation that the powers that be, misused an important moment for us all [to] grow closer together and learn more about one another," Cannon began. "Instead the moment was stolen and highjacked to make an example of an outspoken black man. I will not be bullied, silence, or continuously oppressed by any organization, group or corporation. I am disappointed that Viacom does not understand or respect the power of the Black community."
In a statement on Tuesday, a ViacomCBS spokesperson said that the company decided to cut ties with Cannon after he "failed to acknowledge or apologize for perpetuating anti-Semitism."
In his statement, Cannon went on to detail his decades-long relationship with ViacomCBS, recalling his time as a staff writer on various Nickelodeon series that began when he was 17, being named chairman of TeenNick in 2009, and his work launching the Nickelodeon HALO Awards.
He also thanked former Nickelodeon chief Cyma Zarghami and Marva Smalls, the Global Head of Inclusion at ViacomCBS, for guiding him "through the corporate infrastructure that at times felt overwhelming due to many doubting my abilities as a Black man."
"My time at Viacom also birthed one of my other greatest creative accomplishments; their longest running comedy series and the most successful Hip Hop programming in Television History 'Wild 'N Out,'" he continued. "An idea in which I self-financed out my own pocket and presented to MTV."
Cannon, who is also the host of The Masked Singer on Fox, claimed that his ownership of Wild 'N Out had been "swindled away" from him.
"For Viacom to be so deceptive is no surprise; they have been mistreating and robbing our community for years, underpaying talent on their biggest brands like Love & Hip Hop, all of BET programming and of course, Wild 'N Out," he wrote. "I don't have to defend myself here, the proof is in the history. I believed that the corporation was becoming more progressive and willing to create helpful spaces and dialogue in these difficult and uncertain times of 2020. Instead they chose to recently ban all advertisement that supported George Floyd and Breonna Taylor who we are all still seeking justice for."
A spokesperson for Viacom tells PEOPLE that their reason for blocking the advertisement was "due to the comedic nature of the show we believe is in question, Revenge Prank."
"We didn't want to be insensitive by placing ads for it next to important and serious topics, such as Black Lives Matter," the spokesperson continues. "This is standard practice we use with our media agency to ensure that our ads don't come across as tone-deaf or disrespectful."
Cannon also said that after his anti-Semitic remarks on the June 30 episode of his podcast, Cannon's Class, he tried to reach out to ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone to "have a conversation of reconciliation and actually apologize if I said anything that pained or hurt her or her community," but was met with "dead silence!" He added that the company doesn't "want a conversation or growth, they just want to put the young Negro in his place."
Viacom tells PEOPLE, "It is absolutely untrue that Nick Cannon reached out to the Chair of ViacomCBS."
Cannon called his firing an "unwise decision" and insisted that he attempted to reconcile the situation "on two separate occasions," when he claims he "specifically acknowledged and openly requested a forum to be corrected."
"Viacom's goal to keep me from providing for my family and lineage will be foiled," he wrote. "They can try to kick me while I'm down or force me to kiss the master's feet in public for shame and ridicule, but instead I stand firm on my square with my fist in the air repeating my mantra, 'You can't fire a Boss!'"
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In addressing the remarks that sparked his firing, Cannon said he had "spoken with many Rabbis, clergy, Professors and coworkers who offer their sincere help." (The remarks were made during his interview with former Public Enemy member Richard "Professor Griff" Griffin, who was ousted from the group for his own anti-Semitic remarks in 1989. Throughout the interview, Cannon engaged in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.)
"I must apologize to my Jewish Brothers and Sisters for putting them in such a painful position, which was never my intention, but I know this whole situation has hurt many people and together we will make it right," he said.
"Systemic racism is what this world was built on and was the subject in which I was attempting to highlight in the recent clips that have been circulating from my podcast," he added. "If I have furthered the hate speech, I wholeheartedly apologize."
He concluded his statement by demanding full ownership of Wild 'N Out and an apology from ViacomCBS.
ViacomCBS announced that the company had decided to cut ties with Cannon on Tuesday, saying, "ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism. We have spoken with Nick Cannon about an episode of his podcast 'Cannon’s Class' on YouTube, which promoted hateful speech and spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories."
"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," the statement continued.
Cannon initially released a statement in the wake of the video's backlash, writing on Facebook, "Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hate in my heart nor malice intentions. I do not condone hate speech nor the spread of hateful rhetoric. We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding."
"I am an advocate for people's voices to be heard openly, fairly and candidly. In today's conversation about anti-racism and social justice, I think we all — including myself — must continue educating one another and embrace uncomfortable conversations — it's the only way we ALL get better," he continued. "I encourage more healthy dialogue and welcome any experts, clergy, or spokespersons to any of my platforms to hold me accountable and correct me in any statement that I've made that has been projected as negative."
"Until then, I hold myself accountable for this moment and take full responsibility," he added. "Because my intentions are only to show that as a beautiful human species we have way more commonalities than differences. So let's embrace those as well as each other. We All Family!"