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The move comes two days after the comedian quit America’s Got Talent, which he had hosted for the past eight seasons. In a lengthy Facebook post announcing his departure, Cannon explained that NBC had threatened to fire him over racially charged references to the network on his recent Showtime stand-up special.
In Nick Cannon: Stand Up, Don’t Shoot, which premiered Feb. 10, Cannon riffed at length about the disparity between his personas on and off the broadcast network: “I apologize, white people … you think this is America’s Got Talent,” he says. “America’s Got Talent, but America’s got n—rs, too, and you’re staring at a real one on stage.”
He also made several puns on NBC’s acronym, using the n-word: “That’s what NBC is gonna stand for tonight: ‘N—rs Better Come on, ‘cause N—rs Be Cussin’, so N—r, Be Careful … I can’t talk like that, ‘cause that would mess up the white money.”
Cannon wrote on Facebook that he was leaving because “my soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists and question choices.”
Later in the post, he signaled his impending rep change: “Maybe it was my mistake for signing the contract in the first place, in which I will take full responsibility and have already taken action to restructure my own team of advisors.”
CAA now also will represent Cannon’s banner Ncredible Entertainment, through which he has built a small empire of youth-focused content, including MTV’s Wild ‘N Out and Wild ‘N On Tour, Oxygen’s Like a Boss and Nickelodeon’s React to That and HALO Awards, as well as VH1’s Drumline: A New Beat, the TV movie sequel to Cannon’s own breakthrough as an actor, the 2002 feature Drumline.
The multihyphenate’s credits also include the titular role in Spike Lee’s hip-hopera Chi-Raq; last fall’s Toronto drama King of the Dancehall, which he wrote, directed and stars in; several books, including Neon Aliens Ate My Homework: And Other Poems; and he is chief creative officer of RadioShack.
Cannon continues to be repped by managers Michael “Blue” Williams and Michael Goldman and by attorney Nina Shaw of Del Shaw.
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