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RABBI SAYS HE WARNED NICK CANNON THAT APOLOGIZING FOR ANTISEMITISM WOULD LEAD TO BACKLASH
by Selena Hill/ July 24, 2020219 - Black Enterprise Magazine.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper and Nick Cannon during a conversation on Thursday, July 16, 2020, in Burbank, Calif.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper says he warned Nick Cannon about the backlash he would receive for apologizing for his use of anti-Semitic rhetoric — which cost him his job at ViacombCBS.
The 39-year-old entertainer came under fire last week for repeating anti-Semitic tropes during an interview with controversial hip hop figure Prof. Griff on his podcast “Cannon’s Class.” The host of The Masked Singer amplified Griff’s views that Jewish people controlled the media and perpetuated other anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Cannon also claimed that Black people are the “true Hebrews,” saying, “it’s never hate speech. You can’t be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people.” He also added, “When we are the same people who they want to be. That’s our birthright,” reports BBC News.
After the podcast went viral, ViacomCBS ended its decades-long relationship with Nick and ousted him from his popular comedy franchise Wild ‘N Out on Vh1. Cannon initially responded by doubling down on his stance on Twitter and Facebook, writing “Viacom’s goal to keep me from providing for my family and lineage will be foiled,” reports The Washington Post. He went on to say the network cannot “kick me while I’m down or force me to kiss the master’s feet in public” and that it was trying to “hang me out to dry and make an example of anyone who says something they don’t agree with.”
Then, less than 24 hours later, the actor and comedian made a sharp pivot. After speaking with Rabbi Cooper, the associate dean and director of Global Social Action Agenda for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Cannon issued a statement saying that he “feel[s] ashamed of the uninformed and naïve place his anti-Semitic comments came from.” He went on saying he extends his “deepest and most sincere apologies to my Jewish sisters and brothers for the hurtful and divisive words that came out of my mouth.” The statement came as a response to an announcement from Fox that he would not be fired from The Masked Singer.
The apology triggered a firestorm of criticism from people on social media who accused him of selling out. The Howard University grad, in response, shared cryptic posts on social media and later revealed that he was having suicidal thoughts due to the backlash.
When asked about their one-on-one discussion, which was later shared on the latest episode of “Cannon’s Class,” Cooper said the TV host showed no signs of despair. “The person I met is quite vital. He’s highly motivated,” Cooper told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
The clergy leader also revealed that Cannon reached out to his organization after he saw his tweet condemning Cannon’s discussion with Prof. Griff. “I sent out a tweet after watching the program,” he said. “My tweet was just real quick: ‘if you want a Ph.D. in hate, watch this YouTube (video).”
Before meeting with the Hollywood star, Cooper sent him a list of quotes from controversial leader the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. “We sent him in advance something we’d actually released about three weeks ago, quotes from Minister Farrakhan going back to the 1980s, about Jews, about gays, about Hollywood, etc. because I wanted the conversation to be substantive.”
Cooper says he also didn’t mince words about the pain he and may Jewish people felt after listening to the podcast.
“I said when I watched you say to me, ‘I’m not a Jew. I’m not the real Jew.’ I mean, that’s a trope that’s been around, unfortunately, for a very long time, often pushed by extremists in the Muslim world. That’s sort of the ultimate put down. Imagine if someone came to you and denied your blackness,” he recalled.
“By the end of the conversation, he said, “you know, I want to apologize to you.’ And I said, ‘honestly, don’t apologize to me. Every Jew feels that way. You put it out on the platform. Your job is to apologize to them.'”
Cooper also revealed that he forewarned Cannon of the recoil he would experience for apologizing, noting that NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar was called a “Judas” and an “Uncle Tom” after he published an op-ed about antisemitism within the African American community.
“We forewarned him. I think he understood that whatever he was going to say, that it would go sideways,” he said. “That is the culture that about a million people around the world, most of the younger generations, have embraced.” He added, “the price tag for that is you almost never have time to reflect, to take a deep breath.”
Watch Rabbi Cooper’s full interview about his conversation with Cannon, the cultural tensions between the black and Jewish communities, and the intersectionality between Anti-Semitism and racism.
HOW BILLIONAIRES SPIN THEIR FORTUNES INTO SOCIAL GOOD.
These billionaires all set out with ambitious plans to make a mark in the business world: they democratized personal computers, founded media empires, reshaped Wall Street. But their influence doesn’t stop there. In the profiles below, see how leaders from Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey have turned their attention towards philanthropy and collectively funneled billions of dollars towards health, education, and other charitable projects. Forbes 2018
HOW BILLIONAIRES SPIN THEIR FORTUNES INTO SOCIAL GOOD.
These billionaires all set out with ambitious plans to make a mark in the business world: they democratized personal computers, founded media empires, reshaped Wall Street. But their influence doesn’t stop there. In the profiles below, see how leaders from Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey have turned their attention towards philanthropy and collectively funneled billions of dollars towards health, education, and other charitable projects.
PREVENTING THE NEXT PANDEMIC
THE POWERHarvard dropout cofounded Microsoft in 1975. Today it’s the world’s biggest software maker with $90 billion in revenues. Gates still sits on the board, but has sold or given away much of his equity and now owns just 1.3%.
THE POSSIBILITIESThe most generous person on the planet has given over $35 billion, mostly in stock, to his foundation. From malaria to public school education to birth control, Gates has wrestled with some of the toughest challenges. His latest: global pandemics. In April he announced, in conjunction with Google cofounder Larry Page, a $12 million challenge to scientists to create a universal flu vaccine.
OPENING ACCESS TO BIOSCIENCE RESEARCH
THE POWER: Since cofounding Microsoft in 1975, he's bought the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, led redevelopment in Seattle, and funded space exploration.
THE POSSIBILITIES: Allen has put $1 billion towards bioscience research at the Allen Institute, a nonprofit that prioritizes sharing its findings, data, and tools publicly.
"WHAT I BELIEVE IS THAT THIS IS POTENTIALLY A GAME-CHANGER FOR OUR UNDERSTANDING OF COMPLEX BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS."- PAUL ALLEN
HELPING OTHERS UP
THE POWER: With $31 billion in assets under management, his Vista Equity has produced some of the best returns in private equity by investing exclusively in software companies.
THE POSSIBILITIES: The wealthiest black American is using education to lift up women and African-Americans. He and a foundation linked to Vista made a combined $50 million gift in 2016 to increase the representation of women and minorities in scientific research at Cornell University.
FUNDING FIRST-CLASS SCHOOLING
THE POWER: Following record ratings at The Oprah Winfrey Show, she launched her own studio and became face of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
THE POSSIBILITIES: At the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, students come from impoverished, AIDS-ravaged communities; graduates have gone on to Stanford, Brown, and Oxford. Winfrey has donated $150 million.
EDUCATING ENTERTAINMENT'S NEXT GEN
Born in Egypt to Jewish parents, Saban went from playing bass and managing bands in Israel to hitting it big in Hollywood with TV show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in the 1990s. He now chairs Spanish language broadcast network Univision Communications.
Having already given tens of millions of dollars to children’s hospitals and women’s clinics, Saban announced his biggest gift yet last year, pledging $50 million to the forthcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles.
SUPPORTING CITY LEADERS
THE POWER: His Bloomberg computer terminals became the must-have on Wall Street in the 1990s. After expanding internationally and launchingBloomberg News, he went on to become New York City’s three-term mayor.
THE POSSIBILITIES: He advocates for addressing climate change at the city level, through appointments at the U.N. and via Bloomberg Philanthropies’ funding for projects like Mayors Challenge and Partnership for Healthy Cities.
INVESTING IN CHICAGO
THE POWER: Illinois’ richest person has built his Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel into a global powerhouse, with over $28 billion in assets.
THE POSSIBILITIES: Griffin is giving his adopted hometown $150 million for the University of Chicago’s economics department, $12 million for bike and pedestrian paths along Lake Michigan, and $10 million to equip Chicago police with cameras and data-driven technology.
EMPOWERING SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS
While Skoll was working on his MBA at Stanford he met Pierre Omidyar, and in 1996 became Omidyar’s first hire at eBay and its first president. He left the online auction firm in 2001 and parlayed some of his billions from eBay into film production company Participant Media. Its first big success: Al Gore’s 2006 climate change film, An Inconvenient Truth.
Since 2002, his Skoll Foundation has awarded $470 million to 106 organizations and 128 “social entrepreneurs” — people who’ve started groups around the world with a mission to solve a problem. Awardees this year include Anushka Ratnayake, whose myAgro nonprofit, based in Mali, helps poor farmers save small amounts of money for buying seeds and tools.
DUSTIN MOSKOVITZ & CARI TUNA
ASSESSING IMPACT AND REACH
THE POWER: Moskovitz dropped out of Harvard to help his college roommate, Mark Zuckerberg, build Facebook. In 2008 he left to launch Asana, a task-management software company.
THE POSSIBILITIES: Created Good Ventures, a foundation that assesses best ways to “help humanity thrive,” with his wife Cari Tuna. Grants include $32 million to Deworm the World Initiative and $52 million to GiveDirectly, which gives cash to poor people in parts of Kenya and Uganda.
THE POWER: He missed the yogurt his mother made in Turkey, so borrowed money to revive the family recipe and launch Chobani in 2005. He sold more than $1 billion of yogurt in 2017.
THE POSSIBILITIES: The immigrant is intent on helping some of the world’s 20 million refugees. His Tent Foundation has partnered with Pearson on a math education app for Syrian refugee children and with Airbnb on temporary housing for 100,000 refugees.
IMAGE CREDITS: Getty Images; Lionel Bonaventure / Getty Images; Vera Anderson / Getty Images; T