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Accusing NBC of Censorship, Nick Cannon Quits America’s Got Talent: “I Will Not Stand for It”

Cannon has hosted the NBC competition program since 2009.

Trae Patton/NBC

After eight years of hosting, Nick Cannon has abruptly quit NBC’s long-running competition series America’s Got Talent. The television personality’s departure comes in the wake of controversial comments he made in Stand Up, Don’t Shoot, his recent Showtime comedy special, where he went long on a bit about feeling censored—as a black comic—by executives at his own network. “Sometimes I wish I could say the stuff I really want to say,” he said on stage. “Y’all see my face on America’s Got Talent? Like, This next crazy motherf—er coming to the stage gonna be juggling blindfolded with knives and shit, so n—-s be careful! But I can’t say that. I can’t talk like that. That would mess up the white money.”

Cannon announced his decision in a lengthy Facebook post, where he implied that he chose to get out ahead of the rumor that NBC was considering terminating his contract for his disparaging remarks. “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,” Cannon wrote early Monday morning. “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.”

A replacement for Cannon has not been named, and the series’ judges—Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, and Mel B.—are all expected to return.