Nick Cannon Apologizes to Jewish Community, Demands Rights to Wild ‘N Out After ViacomCBS Firing
- Nick Cannon was fired from ViacomCBS after the company condemned anti-Semitic comments he made on his podcast.
- Cannon claimed Black people could not be anti-Semitic because “the Semitic people are Black people.” He also praised the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan and brought up conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds.
- Cannon slammed ViacomCBS in a Facebook post, saying he would not be “bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed” by any company. He is demanding full ownership of MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out,” which he hosts and produces.
- He also apologized to the Jewish community and said it was never his intention to be hurtful.
Cannon Blasts ViacomCBS
Nick Cannon is taking shots at ViacomCBS after the company severed ties with him Tuesday over anti-Semitic comments he made on his podcast “Cannon’s Class.”
In a 1,500 word Facebook status on Wednesday morning, the TV host said he would not be “bullied, silenced, or continuously oppressed” by any group or company.”
“I am disappointed that Viacom does not understand or respect the power of the black community,” he wrote, later alleging that the company has banned ads regarding George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Cannon had been with Viacom since he was a kid on Nickelodeon. He later became the Chairman of TeenNick and went on to become a producer and host for other major projects. Among his most recent ventures for the network was hosting MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out.”
“I created a billion-dollar brand that expanded across a multitiered empire that is still Viacom’s biggest digital brand, touring business, talent discovery and incubation system and successful restaurant franchise,” Cannon claimed. “Based on trust and empty promises, my ownership was swindled away from me.”
Cannon is now demanding an apology from ViacomCBS, and for full ownership of “Wild ‘N Out.” He is ousting was announced Tuesday.
Anti-Semitic Comments on “Cannon’s Class” Podcast
In the 90 minute episode from late June, Cannon spoke to rapper Richard Griffin, known as Professor Griff, who was previously in Public Enemy until he exited the group in 1989 after making anti-Semitic comments. At the time, he told the Washington Times that he could prove that “Jews are wicked” and claimed that Jewish people are responsible for “the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”
While his exact words were not brought up, the controversy regarding them was. Griffith continued to defend himself, and Cannon said that Griffith was “fearless” and speaking the truth.
“In order for me to be anti-Semitic, I would have to be anti-Black man, anti-Black woman, anti-Black people, anti-Africa, anti-all of the people,” Griffith said.
“Because the Semitic people are Black people,” Cannon added. “So y’all get that clarity, the Semitic people are Black people.”
Cannon also mentioned the Rothschilds, a family that is the subject of many anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. He mentioned them a handful of times, including after Griffith claimed that Jewish people control six main media corporations in America.
“Who are they? When we speak of the six corporations, when we go as deep as the Rothschilds, centralized banking, the 13 families, the bloodlines that control everything even outside of America,” Cannon said.
Cannon also repeatedly praised the controversial Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, who has long been known for making anti-Semitic comments. Cannon referred to him as “honorable” and defended him against criticisms of anti-Semitism.
Cannon also referred to Black people as the “true Hebrews.”
“So then, these people who didn’t have what we have, and when I say we I speak of the melanated people, they had to be savages, they had to be barbaric,” Cannon said at one point. “Whether it’s ‘Jewish people,’ ‘white people, ‘Europeans,’ ‘the illuminati,’ they were doing that as a survival tactic.”
Viacom CBS Severs Ties
These remarks received a substantial amount of backlash from those who said they were deeply rooted in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The American Jewish Committee called them “abhorrent and unacceptable.”
When announcing that they were severing ties with the star, ViacomCBS said they condemn “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,” the company wrote in a statement. “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.”
“We are committed to doing better in our response to incidents of anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry,” ViacomCBS added.
In his Wednesday post denouncing Viacom, Cannon apologized to the Jewish community. He claimed he has received support from them during this controversy.
“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 wrote.
“As for Viacom, who is now on the wrong side of history, I will continue to pray for you,” he continued. “I don’t blame any individual, I blame the oppressive and racist infrastructure.”
He also acknowledged the comments in a Facebook post and Twitter thread on Monday.
“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,” he wrote, before saying that the “Black and Jewish communities have both faced enormous hatred, oppression persecution and prejudice for thousands of years and in many ways have and will continue to work together to overcome these obstacles.”
He called for open dialogue in conversations about anti-racism and social justice and maintained that everyone must work to educate one another for any of these issues to get better.
Some, including Sean Combs, also known as P Diddy, shared support for Cannon. Combs said Cannon is welcome to come to his network, Revolt TV.
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (USA Today) (New York Times)
Twitch Tightens Policies on Explicit Deepfakes
“The creation, promotion, or viewing of this content is not welcome on Twitch,” the company said in a blog post.
New Rules Regarding “Synthetic NCEI”
Twitch is cracking down on explicit deepfake content and will indefinitely suspend users who share or promote it after a first offense.
“The existence of this content, and its presence and distribution on various sites, is personally violating and beyond upsetting. Deepfake porn isn’t a problem on Twitch, but it’s a terrible issue that some streamers (almost exclusively women) may face on the internet at large,” Twitch said in a Tuesday blog post, explaining it wants to “help streamers protect themselves” in any case this issue arises.
Twitch referred to this content as “synthetic non-consensual exploitative images,” or “synthetic NCEI,” but many of the platform’s users have casually referred to it as deepfake porn. Synthetic NCEI involves someone taking the face of another person and editing it into a pornographic video to make it appear as though that person filmed themselves demonstrating those sexual acts. The new rise in access to this technology has concerned many, as it is easy to use it to exploit others.
While synthetic NCEI is already banned on Twitch, the company took a more actionable step against it in its Tuesday post by creating an Adult Sexual Violence and Exploitation policy. The new rule prohibits the intentional sharing, promoting, or creation of synthetic NCEI and those acts can result in an indefinite suspension on the first offense.
Twitch also updated its Adult Nudity policy to include synthetic NCEI. Even if it is only shown briefly, that content will still be taken down and result in an enforcement.
In addition to the policy changes, Twitch made available a list of resources for those who might be impacted by or wish to learn more about synthetic NCEI.
“The creation, promotion, or viewing of this content is not welcome on Twitch,” the company said closing its blog post.
Growing Concerns About Explicit Deepfakes
Twitch’s updates come as synthetic NCEI and deepfakes have become a primary topic of concern for social media platforms. Earlier this year, Twitch was home to a major deepfake controversy after a streamer known as Atrioc was caught with an open tab to a website that hosted these videos. That site specifically hosted deepfakes of female Twitch streamers, some of whom were Atrioc’s colleagues.
Many women featured on the page spoke out against these deepfakes, explaining the trauma they endured knowing their face, image, and likeness were used in a sexual manner without their consent. It’s an issue that extends far past Twitch creators. Some fear they could be used for revenge porn, and there are already several cases where the technology is used to create sexual videos of celebrities.
On Tuesday, NBC News published a report finding that Facebook and Instagram ran suggestive ads featuring deepfakes of actresses like Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson. The ads were for a deepfake app that told users they could “replace face with anyone.”
While the ads did not show explicit pornographic content, one ad featuring Watson was clearly meant to mimic the start of an explicit video, suggesting a sexual act was about to start. The face of the “Harry Potter” actress was seen looking into the camera before bending down.
The report found that 127 ads with Watson deepfakes and 74 with Johansson deepfakes ran across Meta’s platforms on Sunday and Monday, but have since been removed. The app in question was also removed from the Apple app store after NBC News contacted the tech giant for comment.
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Engadget) (Kotaku)
Fans Defend Pedro Pascal After Actor Refused to Read Thirst Tweets: “It’s Sexual Harassment”
Pascal has been dubbed the Internet’s “daddy,” but many think the joke has gone too far.
Pascal’s Heartthrob Status
Fans are defending actor Pedro Pascal after he refused to read thirst tweets on the red carpet, arguing that it is inappropriate and disrespectful to ask him to do so.
Pascal, the star of HBO’s “The Last of Us” and Disney+’s “The Mandalorian,” has become a major Hollywood heartthrob. He has even been widely dubbed as the Internet’s “daddy” by those posting about his handsome looks. The running joke grew last year when he did a Vanity Fair lie detector test and said he considered himself a “bigger daddy” than “Star Wars” star Oscar Isaac.
“Daddy is a state of mind, you know what I’m saying? I’m your daddy,” he quipped during the interview.
Since then, TikTokers have started posting thirst trap edits of Pascal, journalists have called him “daddy” on the red carpet, and interviewers have shown him tweets where fans call him a “cool, slutty daddy.”
Pascal has been a good sport about the public displays of lust for him, but many think the joke may have crossed a line. During last week’s red carpet premiere for season three of “The Mandalorian,” an Access Hollywood reporter went viral for asking Pascal to read thirst tweets to the camera. Pascal politely declined.
“No. Dirty! Dirty!” he told the reporter after reading through the tweets.
“For your enjoyment only,” she responded.
“Thank you very much,” Pascal said before exiting the interview.
Fans Condemn Thirst Tweet Interviews
In response, many who watched the clip condemned this treatment of Pascal, arguing it promoted constant objectification.
“I think it’s time for the internet to leave Pedro Pascal alone,” one person wrote. “It’s sexual harassment, but no one seems to care bc he’s a man + is graceful about it. It’s really gross and I would never want to be treated like that.”
“These jokes have gone way too far and he’s visibly uncomfortable,” another fan added.
Some claimed that while the Internet’s love of Pascal “started as harmless fun…the constant public objectification and sexualization must be terrible” and should stop.
“Being attractive, banking on it, selling it, and even at times enjoying some of the attention, doesn’t give everyone wholesale permission to sexualize you,” someone else argued.
See what others are saying: (IndieWire) (The Gamer) (BuzzFeed News)
Conservatives Pledge to #BoycottHershey After International Women’s Day Campaign Featured a Trans Woman
“I hope this campaign shows trans girls they can dream big and change the world too,” activist Fae Johnstone said in her Hers for She video.
Hershey Highlights Fae Johnstone
Step aside, Green M&M. Conservatives have a new candy that they’re mad at: Hershey bars.
On Wednesday, Hershey Canada unveiled its “Her for She” International Women’s Day initiative, which aims to celebrate “women changing the future.” Conservatives were quickly outraged by the company’s choice to highlight Fae Johnstone, a trans woman and LGBTQ+ rights activist, as part of this effort.
“We can create a world where everyone is able to live in public space as their honest and authentic selves,” Johnstone said in a “Her for She” video.
In addition to Johnstone, the campaign features gender equality activists, a climate tech researcher, and an indigenous rights activist, all of whom have fought for progress in their respective fields. The women will appear on Hershey’s websites, in marketing promotions, and in artistic renderings on Hershey bar wrappers.
Johnstone wrote on Twitter that she hopes Hershey’s campaign will “give more young women and girls role models” who can demonstrate how to “change the world, together.”
“It also means a lot to be included, as a young(ish?) trans woman,” Johnstone continued. “I grew up with few trans role models. Many young trans folks haven’t met a trans adult. I hope this campaign shows trans girls they can dream big and change the world too.”
A Swift Transphobic Backlash
This decision, however, prompted right-wing Twitter users to accuse Hershey of hating “real” women. Many of the posts included blatantly transphobic rhetoric, as well as promises to boycott the company because it went “woke.”
The outrage was so prominent that #BoycottHershey was one of the top Twitter trends on Thursday morning.
This backlash comes just a little over a month after conservative media figures like Tucker Carlson slammed M&M for making the green mascot character, well, less sexy.
In response to Mars changing the green candy’s outfit, Carlson accused the Mars company of making its characters “as unattractive as possible because when you’re intentionally repulsive, it’s clear you’ve got the right politics.”
Not long after the right-wing backlash, M&M opted to replace its “spokescandies” with actress Maya Rudolph.
The conservative outrage targeted at both Hershey and M&M is part of a larger culture war against any company that makes changes to address diversity, climate change, or other social issues. Brands like Xbox, “Sesame Street,” and more have at one point provoked the ire of Fox News hosts and other Republican figures.
In fact, their outrage against these progressive changes has become so common that once #BoycottHershey was trending, some tweeted that they did not even have to click on the hashtag “to know that they must have done something compassionate that the right hates.”