Nick Cannon basically quit “America’s Got Talent” in a lengthy Facebook post Monday morning.
Cannon, who has hosted the reality competition since 2009, said that NBC threatened to terminate his contract because of a racial joke he made during his recent Showtime stand-up special, “Stand Up, Don’t Shoot.”
“I grew up like a real n—-,” Cannon joked during the special. “But I honestly believe, once I started doing America’s Got Talent, they took my real n—- card. They did! Because then like these type of people started showing up to my shows.” Cannon then pointed to three white audience members sitting in the front row. “I can’t do the real n—- stuff no more, because then they’ll put me on TMZ.”
Cannon has often used “America’s Got Talent” as joke fodder in his stand-up act, but with a television audience also watching, Cannon decided to warn everyone that they weren’t going to get the family-friendly host that they know from “AGT” and Nickelodeon.
“I apologize, white people,” he said. “We over here talking about bitches and players and stuff, and you think this is America’s Got Talent. It’s going to be a little different tonight. America’s Got Talent, but America’s got n—-rs, too, so. You staring at a real one onstage […]Matter of fact, that’s what NBC gonna stand for tonight. N—- Better Come on, ‘cuz n—-s be cussing! So n—- be careful!”
TMZ reported that NBC execs were considering firing Cannon for his jokes on the grounds that he was violating a clause in his contract forbidding him from “disparaging the network.” NBC eventually backed off, as they ultimately enjoyed Cannon’s work as “AGT” host and didn’t want to spoil the relationship.
Unfortunately for the Peacock Network, Cannon isn’t going to take it. He took to Facebook Monday morning criticizing NBC for trying to threaten his ability to freely express himself, saying the threats were “another way to silence and control an outspoken voice who often battles the establishment.”
“Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so called unruly actions,” Cannon wrote. “I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head.”
Cannon apologized to “AGT” fans and said that he enjoyed the eight seasons he spent working on the show, but decided that continuing to work with NBC was not in his best interests as an artist. He also criticized major media corporations like NBC Universal for their scarcity of minority executives despite controlling “90 percent of media.”
“I felt like I was apart of the fabric of our great nation every summer, representing every culture, age, gender, and demographic,” he wrote. “Now for the rug to be pulled from underneath me and to be publicly reprimanded and ridiculed over a joke about my own race is completely wrong and I have to do something about it.”
“AGT” was the top-rated summer show on broadcast TV last year, averaging approximately 11 million viewers on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Season 12 is set to begin filming next month.
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