- 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)
M&M Announces “Progressive” Rebrand. Internet Asks: “Why?”
The company hopes its characters will “reflect the more dynamic, progressive world that we live in.”
M&M Revamps Candy Characters
The green M&M — the femme fatale of the candy world — is swapping her tall white gogo boots for a pair of classic sneakers as part of Mars’ new effort to make the brand more “inclusive, welcoming, and unifying.” The change sparked a swell of backlash online from those who think the plain Jane facelift is unnecessary.
“M&M’S has been around for more than 80 years and this year the brand continues to evolve to reflect the more dynamic, progressive world that we live in,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
“The refreshed M&M’S brand will include a more modern take on the looks of our beloved characters, as well as more nuanced personalities to underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling,” the statement continued.
The company said it hopes for fans to notice an “added emphasis on the ampersand to more prominently demonstrate how the brand aims to bring people together.”
What fans noticed, however, was the fact that the green M&M is no longer, well, sexy. Formerly known as Ms. Green, her prefix was dropped and her poses are less flirty. The same happened with Brown, also a female, who had her footwear changed to lower her heel. The company wants the two to represent a “force supporting women.”
In character bios on M&M’s website, Green described herself as a “hypewoman” who wants to “see more women in leading roles.” Brown says she is “Not bossy. Just the boss.”
The other characters are getting new styles as well. Red, the macho leader, is going to become more friendly and collaborative. Orange is getting to lean into his high anxiety, admitting in his profile that he can’t leave the house without “panicking.”
Twitter Mocks Rebrand
But it turns out, many people were seemingly happy with the gender-normed M&M characters just as they were. Rolling Stone put out a piece asking that Mars “let the green M&M be a nasty little slut.” The Guardian accused the company of “slut-shaming” the iconic candy cartoon.
On Twitter, the redesign was met with even more criticism.
“I will REFUSE to buy m&m’s until they make the green one SEXY again,” one person tweeted.
“They told green m&m she couldn’t go to euphoria high school anymore,” another person wrote.
“Finally an M&M with mental health struggles,” someone joked about Orange.
Others mocked it as an overall small and meaningless gesture of equality from a large corporation.
“Who needs equitable pay, healthcare, voting rights?” One person tweeted. “That stuff is for chumps. What we need is Woke M&Ms to carry us through these tough times.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (CBS News) (The Independent)
Jay-Z, Other Artists, Sign Letter Supporting N.Y. Bill to Block Use of Rap Lyrics in Court
The legislation aims to “protect all artists and content creators, including rappers from having their lyrics wielded against them by prosecutors.”
New York Senators Introduce “Rap Music On Trial” Bill
Jay-Z and a slew of other rappers and artists signed a letter this week in support of a New York law that would prevent rap lyrics from being used as evidence in court.
The bill, titled Rap Music on Trial, was introduced in November by state Sens. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) and Jamaal Bailey (D-Queens). Rap Music on Trial aims to “enhance the free speech protections of New Yorkers by banning the use of art created by a defendant as evidence against them in a courtroom.”
“The legislation will protect all artists and content creators, including rappers from having their lyrics wielded against them by prosecutors,” a statement released by the senators said.
If the law were passed, in order to submit lyrics and other creative works as evidence, prosecutors would need to present “clear and convincing proof that there is a literal, factual nexus between creative expression and the facts of the case.”
Hoylman, Bailey, rappers, and many other advocates believe that rap lyrics are often used unfairly in court.
“The use of rap and hip-hop lyrics in particular is emblematic of the systemic racism that permeates our criminal justice system,” Bailey explained in a statement.
Major Artists Sign Letter Backing Legislation
The letter signed by Jay-Z echoed those concerns. It was written by his lawyer, Alex Spiro, and University of Richmond Professor Erik Nielson. Meek Mill, Big Sean, Fat Joe, Kelly Rowland, and Robin Thicke were among the other artists who put their names behind the cause.
“Rather than acknowledge rap music as a form of artistic expression, police and prosecutors argue that the lyrics should be interpreted literally — in the words of one prosecutor, as ‘autobiographical journals’ — even though the genre is rooted in a long tradition of storytelling that privileges figurative language, is steeped in hyperbole, and employs all of the same poetic devices we find in more traditional works of poetry,” the letter said.
According to Spiro and Nielson, using rap lyrics allows prosecutors to “obtain convictions even when other evidence is lacking.” They also argued the strategy specifically harms young Black and Latino men, who are “the overwhelming majority of artists in these cases.”
Several high-profile artists have experienced this practice themselves. In their joint statement, Hoylman and Bailey pointed to a 2019 case where Tekashi69’s lyrics were introduced in court to compel him to become a government witness to avoid harsher sentencing.
Per a report from Rolling Stone, the late Drakeo the Ruler was subjected to something similar while on trial for a 2016 murder case. Before he was acquitted of the crime, prosecutors attempted to use lyrics from his song “Flex Freestyle” in an effort to make jurors think he brought a group of armed people to a party to target the victim.
In the letter, Spiro and Nielson pointed to research that “identified hundreds of cases” where rap lyrics were exploited in court, noting that the genre has the “potential to be highly prejudicial.”
In one study they cited, two groups were given identical violent lyrics, but one group was told those lyrics came from a country song, and the other was told it was rap. Members of the group who believed the lyrics were rap “were significantly more likely to view them as threatening and in need of regulation” than members of those who thought the words came from a country song.
“Nobody thinks Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, or that David Byrne is a psycho killer, but routinely rappers have their lyrics used against them in criminal trials,” Hoylman said in a November tweet.
“As these and other studies suggest, weaponizing rap music against its creators is racially and culturally discriminatory,” the letter concluded. “It is also an affront to the First Amendment protections that everyone in this country should be entitled to.”
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (Billboard) (The Gaurdian)
Britney Spears Sends Cease and Desist to Jamie Lynn Over Book Tour
Britney’s lawyer claimed that Jamie Lynn’s “ill-timed book” contains “misleading or outrageous claims” about the singer.
Britney Spears Slaps Sister With Cease and Desist
Britney Spears sent a cease and desist letter this week demanding her sister, Jamie Lynn, stop “referencing Britney derogatorily during” her book tour.
The two sisters have been embroiled in a heated war of words over the last week, largely prompted by Jamie Lynn’s new memoir, “Things I Should Have Said.” In the book and during its accompanying press tour, Jamie Lynn has discussed a variety of issues, including Britney’s controversial conservatorship, their father’s struggles with alcoholism, and what it was like to be raised in her older sister’s shadow.
“We write with some hesitation because the last thing Britney wants is to bring more attention to your ill-timed book and its misleading or outrageous claims about her,” Britney’s lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Variety. “Although Britney has not read and does not intend to read your book, she and millions of her fans were shocked to see how you have exploited her for monetary gain. She will not tolerate it, nor should she.”
The Spears family has been the subject of international headlines over the last year as the legal battle to free the “Toxic” singer from her 13-year conservatorship took off. Britney has been vocal about the fact that she felt largely abandoned by her family while she was in the conservatorship, claiming they did nothing to help her. A Los Angeles judge officially terminated the arrangement in November, giving the pop star newfound control over her life.
“Having endured a 13-year conservatorship that stripped her of civil rights and fundamental liberties, Britney will no longer be bullied by her father or anyone else,” the letter continued. “Britney was the family’s breadwinner and she also otherwise supported you. Publicly airing false or fantastical grievances is wrong, especially when designed to sell books. It is also potentially unlawful and defamatory.”
Spears Sisters Duke it Out on Social Media
During the press tour, Jamie Lynn has conducted interviews aired on “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” and the “Call Her Daddy” podcast with Alex Cooper. Britney has taken issue with several stories Jamie Lynn told, including one where she claims Britney locked them inside a room together with a knife because she was “scared.”
“I’ve never been around you ever with a knife or would I ever even think to do such,” Britney wrote in one Twitter post denying the story.
“Hope your book does well, Jamie Lynn !!!!” the singer wrote in another post. “My family ruined my dreams 100 billion percent and try to make me look like the crazy one.”
Jamie Lynn has defended her choice to write the memoir, arguing that she is “speaking my truth to heal my traumas.”
“I hate to burst my sister’s bubble, but my book is not about her,” she wrote. “I can’t help that I was born a Spears too, and that some of my experiences involve my sister.“
Rosengart mentioned this statement in the cease and desist letter.
“You recently reportedly stated that the book was ‘not about her.’ [Britney] takes you at your word and we, therefore, demand that you cease and desist from referencing Britney derogatorily during your promotional campaign,” he wrote. “If you fail to do so or defame her, Britney will be forced to consider and take all appropriate legal action.”