Nick Cannon’s daytime talk show is no longer launching this fall, following the controversy over his comments felt by many to be anti-Semitic, and his subsequent apology.
The new show was supposed to start in September, but Lionsgate says it wants to continue the healing process as Cannon meets with leaders of the Jewish community.
Lionsgate says it’s standing with Cannon but plans to hold off on the daytime talk show for a year until fall 2021.
“The Nick Cannon talk show will not debut this year. After conversations with Nick, we do believe that his public comments don’t reflect his true feelings and his apology is heartfelt and sincere,” Lionsgate and Debmar-Mercury said in a statement. “We want to continue the healing process as he meets with leaders of the Jewish community and engages in a dialogue with our distribution partners to hear their views. We are standing by Nick in our hope that by fall 2021 he will be able to use his extraordinary talent and platform to entertain, enlighten and unite his audience on the Nick Cannon talk show.
“Lionsgate and Debmar-Mercury condemn anti-Semitism, racism and hate speech. It runs counter to everything we stand for.”
The decision to keep push back the talk show comes after ViacomCBS fired the Drumline actor from his improv show Wild ‘N Out after his anti-Semitic comments on a recent podcast.
Cannon, who remains host of The Masked Singer, issued an apology, saying: “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 naive place that these words came from.
“The video of this interview has since been removed. 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,” he continued.
“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,” Cannon added. “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.”
Cannon’s apology came after his remarks received backlash online from a podcast in which he and Richard “Professor Griff” Griffin, the former Public Enemy member, discussed racial bias. The podcast was reportedly recorded last year and aired two weeks ago.
Griffin was fired from Public Enemy for making anti-Semitic remarks in a 1989 interview with the Washington Post.
During Cannon and Griffin’s conversation, the pair discussed the term anti-Semitic and claimed it could not be used against Black people because “the Semitic people and language have nothing to do with white people.”
In Cannon’s hour-plus podcast, he and Griffin contend that Black people are the true Hebrews and that Jews have usurped their identity.
“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,” Cannon said, adding: “We are the true Hebrews.”
Cannon then segues into a discussion of skin colour.
“And I’m going to say this carefully,” he said, while alleging that people who lack sufficient melanin are “a little less.”
Those without dark skin have a “deficiency” that has historically forced them to act out of fear and commit acts of violence to survive, he said.
“They had to be savages,” Cannon said, adding that he was referring to “Jewish people, white people, Europeans,” among others.
—With files from The Associated Press