The father-of-two posted a lengthy statement on Facebook confirming that he quit the popular NBC competition show because he says he was his job was threatened after he told a joke about his own race.
“After days of deliberating over some extremely disappointing news that I was being threatened with termination by executives because of a comedy special that was only intended to bring communities closer together, I was to be punished for a joke,” he wrote on Facebook.
Nick explained that network executives were upset because he made a racially-charged joke about their brand while recording a stand-up comedy special. In the joke, Nick said that NBC is making him lose his “black card” for stifling his personality, style, and culture while hosting the show.
Executives at NBC found out about the joke when Nick was promoting the comedy special during an interview on The Howard Stern Show, according to TMZ. The network reportedly accused Nick of violating a clause in their contract that prevents him from talking about the company without their approval.
Nick said this isn’t the first time he’s felt censored by NBC execs — but the only reason why he stayed is because he enjoyed hosting the series for eight seasons, and he said walking away from the fans “hurts tremendously.”
“I find myself in a dark place having to make a decision that I wish I didn’t have to, but as a man, an artist, and a voice for my community I will not be silenced, controlled or treated like a piece of property. There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity,” Nick continued in his statement. “So I wish AGT and NBC the best in its upcoming season but I can not see myself returning.”