Nick Cannon abruptly announced that he’s leaving America’s Got Talent, the reality competition series he’s hosted since the fourth season in 2009, in a lengthy Facebook post Monday morning. His decision was due to the fact that he recently came under fire from NBC over a joke he made in his Showtime standup special that aired last Friday, which reportedly led to the network to consider letting him go. In the special, Cannon joked that NBC was deliberately making him tone down his swagger and making him “lose his black card.”
Although NBC ultimately decided not to part ways, apparently just the insinuation alone was enough for Cannon, as he explained in the post.
Cannon continued in the post, claiming that his mentors had warned him that “The System” would come down on him for “speaking too many truths and being too loud about it.”
I find myself in a dark place having to make a decision that I wish I didn’t have to, but as a man, an artist, and a voice for my community I will not be silenced, controlled or treated like a piece of property. There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity. I have loved hosting AMERICAS GOT TALENT for the last 8 seasons, watching talented, brave, and courageous Americans accomplish their dreams in front of millions has been nothing but a joy, and everyone has been a pleasure to work with but my soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists, and question cultural choices. 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. I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head. It’s never been about the money for me, what is difficult to walk away from is the fans, the people who love me on the show.
To put things in perspective, Cannon has a contract with NBC that clearly states he can’t speak about the network without prior approval, nor disparage the organization in any way. NBC first became aware of the joke when Cannon appeared on Howard Stern’s radio program last week to promote the special where he teased the bit by saying, “If they fire me… then I can sue them then I can create a whole controversy. NBC hates black people.”
This is not the first time Cannon has been the subject of controversy. Back in 2014, the then Mr. Mariah Carey raised eyebrows when he declared himself the inventor of “white face” with a Caucasian alter ego named “Connor Smallnut.”