Nick Cannon has quit America’s Got Talent.
Cannon says he is leaving NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” after a falling out with the network over a joke told on a Showtime comedy special.
In the special, Cannon told a racially charged joke employing “NBC” as an acronym incorporating a racial slur. In a lengthy Facebook post Monday, Cannon claimed that NBC executive threatened to terminate him over the joke.
The comedian said he was “deeply saddened” about being “threatened with termination by executives” after he made the joke about NBC.
“I was to be punished for a joke … 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,” wrote Cannon on Facebook. “I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head.”
Production on season 12 of America’s Got Talent (planned to be Cannon’s eighth season as host) is set to begin next month.
Cannon’s inflammatory joke aired during the comedian’s Showtime special, Stand Up, Don’t Shoot, which premiered Friday.
“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,” said Cannon, pointing out white audience members. “I can’t do the real N— stuff no more, because then they’ll put me on TMZ.”
He also cracked that NBC stood for “N— Better Come on” and indicated he felt constrained by the family-friendly summer show.
Talking to Howard Stern on Friday, Cannon seemed confident NBC would be OK with his routine. “If they fire me from AGT for the things I’ve said … I can sue them and create a whole new controversy — ‘NBC hates black people!'” he laughed.
But on Monday, Cannon struck a more somber note. “It was brought to my attention by my ‘team’ that NBC believed that I was in breach of contract because I had disparaged their brand,” wrote Cannon. “In my defense, I would ask how so? Or is this just another way to silence and control an outspoken voice who often battles the establishment.”
Cannon added: “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. “
“After days of deliberating over some extremely disappointing news that I was being threatened with termination by Executives because of a comedy special that was only intended to bring communities closer together, I was to be punished for a joke,” Cannon wrote. He continued, “So I wish AGT and NBC the best in its upcoming season but I can not see myself returning.”
Cannon has served as host of “America’s Got Talent” since 2009. The show is consistently NBC’s highest-rated offering during the summer months.