One of the regulars on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” had harsh words for the network after a racially tinged controversy flared up. Nick Cannon, who has hosted the reality competition for eight seasons, said he’s quitting the show after learning that NBC execs considered firing him over some of his comedy material.
Cannon discussed the situation in a Facebook essay in which he wrote: “I wish AGT and NBC the best in its upcoming season but I can not see myself returning. As of lately I have even questioned if I want to even be a part of an industry who ultimately treats artists in this manner. Most of us don’t realize that there are 6 major corporations that control 90 percent of media in America and the amount of minority executives is dismal. With this being the case, true equality in our industry is impossible.”
The controversy is centered on racially charged material in Cannon’s Showtime comedy special “Stand Up, Don’t Shoot,” which premiered Friday.
“While Nick was recording the special more than a month ago, he joked with the audience that NBC was making him lose his ‘black card’ — strongly insinuating the network wanted him to show less swagger on ‘AGT,'” TMZ.com reports. “Sources familiar with the situation tell us NBC execs got wind of it when Nick was promoting the special on ‘The Howard Stern Show’ … and thought he was disparaging the network — a violation of his contract. We’re told his deal has a clause that bars him from talking about the network without approval.”
NBC executives reportedly considered firing Cannon from “AGT,” but eventually decided to they could live with his comedy material.
“We’re told they like him and didn’t want to blow the relationship. He’ll be shooting ‘AGT’ next month,” TMZ reported on Friday. But things changed after Cannon became offended about the level of scrutiny he was under from the execs.
Cannon wrote in his Facebook post, published Monday: “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.”
Here’s a teaser for the Showtime special at the center of the controversy …