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Nick Cannon wants ‘counsel culture,’ not cancel culture, after anti-Semitic remarks

Nick Cannon raises his fist and wears a black hoodie that says "Please I Can't Breathe."
Nick Cannon is about to do his first network interview after making anti-Semitic remarks during a podcast last summer.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)


Nick Cannon, whose career took a hit last summer after he made anti-Semitic comments during a podcast with former Public Enemy rapper Professor Griff, says he’s working to understand how he hurt people with his remarks.

“Ultimately I’ve always said that apologies are empty. Apologies are weightless,” Cannon says in an interview set to air Tuesday night on ABC’s miniseries “Soul of a Nation.” That, he says, is why he’s going through a repentance process where, in the future, he hopes to make different decisions when placed in a similar situation.

“That goes beyond apologizing,” he says.

Cannon explains that the initial purpose of his comments about “melanated” and “non-melanated” people “was to say we are all the same people. That’s ultimately what I was saying. How can you hate when you believe that you come from the same people that are saying you are being hateful?”

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Cannon demanded full ownership of MTV’s ‘Wild ‘n Out’ and an apology from ViacomCBS, which cut ties with him over ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.’

He acknowledges his mistakes, saying, “I hurt people. I’m gonna lean into it. I want to understand why I hurt you. What did I say? What are these tropes? Educate me.”

MTV and parent company ViacomCBS cut ties with its longtime “Wild ‘N Out” host last summer after the controversial “Cannon’s Class” episode, in which the performer claimed he and his fellow Black people were “the true Hebrews.”

The network’s move earned a swift rebuke from Cannon, who then demanded full ownership of the program. He later issued an apology on social media and connected with Jewish leaders, and last month he was brought back on board at the show.

“Nick has not only apologized and taken responsibility for his comments but he has also worked to educate himself and others through engagement with Jewish leaders and on his platforms,” an MTV Entertainment Group representative said in a statement to The Times in early February.

Fox, meanwhile, opted to keep Cannon as host of “The Masked Singer,” though Niecy Nash is subbing for him in early episodes of the current season after he reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and couldn’t participate in taping.

‘No group owns suffering,’ writes columnist LZ Granderson, in response to anti-Semitic remarks by TV host Nick Cannon and NFL star DeSean Jackson.

Tonight’s episode of “Soul of a Nation” — the third in a six-part newsmagazine series that centers Black life in America — is hosted by gospel singer BeBe Winans and focuses on issues of faith.

It shows Cannon in discussions with Jewish faith leaders, during which he mentions the need for “counsel culture” instead of “cancel culture.”

“My journey’s not going to stop whether the person watching this forgives me or not,” he tells ABC News’ Linsey Davis. “I’m still gonna hopefully do this process, be on the right side of history, and bring people closer together.”

“Soul of a Nation” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on ABC.


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