Wild and Out or Tamed and In?
Earlier this week ViacomCBS cut ties with Nick Cannon after he engaged in racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric during a conversation with rapper, Professor Griff, on an episode of his podcast “Cannon’s Class.” The statements were likened to hate speech by the public. Fox utilized the incident as a moment for open conversation, allowing Cannon to admit his mistakes and move forward.
Fox stated that Cannon “…is clear and remorseful that his words were wrong and lacked both understanding and context, and inadvertently promoted hate…Nick has…taken steps to educate himself and make amends.” Cannon’s Facebook apology emphasized that this type of dialogue is an important and impactful way to combat racism and injustice. It is not necessary to shun and punish ignorance and misinformation but instead advance a norm where we “…continue educating one another & embrace uncomfortable conversations – it’s the only way we ALL get better.”
Fox likely accepted Cannon’s apology as a way to reconcile his actions with a breach in the morality clause of his contract – a provision typically included in production company contracts. Instead of terminating Cannon for his immoral and unethical conduct, Fox opted to engage in a “healthy dialogue” and support Cannon’s promise to learn from “experts, clergy, or spokespersons” that were negatively affected by his statements.
“We are living in a time when it is more important than ever to promote unity and understanding,” Cannon wrote.
Fox preferred an open dialogue. Viacom preferred immediate termination. Who made the right choice?