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Nick Cannon announces he's leaving America's Got Talent after joke controversy

In a lengthy social media post, Cannon explained that he will not be returning to host the NBC summer talent competition series because “executives” recently threatened his termination due to a controversial joke

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Trae Patton/NBC

Season 11 of America’s Got Talent might have been Nick Cannon’s last.

The comedian announced on social media Monday morning that he would not be returning to host the NBC talent competition series after “Executives” allegedly threatened to fire him because of a joke in his upcoming Showtime comedy special. 

“So I wish AGT and NBC the best in its upcoming season but I can not see myself returning,” Cannon wrote in a lengthy post on Facebook. “This hurts tremendously. I felt like I was apart of the fabric of our great nation every summer, representing every culture, age, gender, and demographic. Now for the rug to be pulled from underneath me and to be publicly reprimanded and ridiculed over a joke about my own race is completely wrong and I have to do something about it.”

In his stand-up special, Stand Up, Don’t Shoot, Cannon, who has hosted America’s Got Talent since 2009, made several pointed jokes about NBC. First, he began the night by warning his audience that the n-word would be sprinkled about throughout his show and that NBC would stand for “N—-s Better Come On” and “N—s Be Careful” for the entire show. Then, he went on to joke about his life changed once he started doing America’s Got Talent.

“I grew up like a real n—a, all that stuff, but I honestly believe that once I started doing America’s Got Talent, they took my real n—a card. They did, because then these types of people start showing up to my shows,” he said, gesturing to the older white audience members. “I can’t do the real n—a stuff anymore cause then they’ll put me on TMZ.”

He says that this controversy has left him in a “dark place” because he’s forced to make a decision to stop his voice from being “silenced” or from being “controlled or treated like a piece of property.”

He wrote, “There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity. I have loved hosting AMERICAS GOT TALENT for the last 8 seasons, watching talented, brave, and courageous Americans accomplish their dreams in front of millions has been nothing but a joy, and everyone has been a pleasure to work with but 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.”

NBC did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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