Nick Cannon has been subject to criticism in light of a discussion of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories with Professor Griff, and has issued a response.
The actor interviewed Richard Griffin, best known by his stage name as Professor Griff, on a recent episode of Cannon’s Class.
The discussion of anti-Semitic comments made by Griffin in the 1980s, which led to his exit from the hip hop group Public Enemy, resurfaced here, as Cannon praises the musician for having “the most substance and weight in speaking unapologetically…and you stuck to your guns.”
In a 1989 interview with The Washington Post, Griffin said, “The Jews are wicked. And we can prove this,” and added that Jewish people are responsible for “the majority of wickedness that goes on across the globe.”
Cannon said in his interview that “the Semitic people are Black people” and added that the term “antisemitic” is used to “neutralise” criticism.
The actor then added: “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.” He then added that “we are the true Hebrews.”
Cannon was subject to criticism in 2013, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, after appearing in a video promoting the “Millions For Trayvon” march, which was allegedly backed by the New Black Panther Party. The Anti-Defamation League called the group “the nation’s largest anti-Semitic and racist Black militant group.”
At the time, Cannon’s spokesperson said: “Nick Cannon supports positivity, equality and unity amongst all people.”
The actor has since issued a response on his social media accounts, saying: “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.
He continued: “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.”
NME reached out to Cannon’s publicists for a comment, who linked out to Cannon’s full statement which is available on his Facebook page.