Musical artist Nick Cannon was fired from Viacom this week after the release of a podcast in which he made anti-semitic comments. According to the New York Times, the podcast was an interview with Richard Griffin (also known as Professor Griff), who was kicked out of the band Public Enemy after blaming Jews for most of the wickedness in the world in a 1989 interview. "The Jews are wicked. And we can prove this," he told the Washington Times. Cannon told Griffin he'd been "speaking facts" and also praised Louis Farrakhan, who has been known to make anti-semitic comments.

In addition, Cannon referenced a conspiracy theory that the media is all controlled by wealthy Jewish families. "I find myself wanting to debate this idea and it gets real wishy and washy and unclear for me when we give so much power to the 'theys,'" he said, "and 'theys' then turn into illuminati, the Zionists, the Rothschilds." He also said that Black people are the true Semitic people. "You can't be anti-Semitic when we are the Semitic people," he said. "That's our birthright. So if that's truly our birthright, there's no hate involved."

At first, despite the backlash, Nick Cannon refused to apologize for this remarks. Responses to his firing ranged widely across the internet, with some calling him out as a bigot and some praising him for what they saw as "free speech."

But one woman on Twitter, who happens to be Black and Jewish, took the opportunity to explain exactly why his comments were so problematic. Speaking as "your Black & Jewish educational fairy godmother," Malana wrote:

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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