Andrew Yang Says New ‘SNL’ Cast Member Shouldn’t Be Fired for Calling Him a ‘Jew Ch**k’
By Carl Samson
September 15, 2019
Andrew Yang has waded into the hot waters comedian Shane Gillis found himself in after
Gillis, who was announced as one of three new cast members for the 45th season of “Saturday Night Live,” referred to Chinese people as “f***ing c***ks,” mocked Chinese restaurants and declared “I love to be f***ing racist” in a September 2018 podcast with Matt McCusker.
The clips, which emerged after the announcement of his casting, have drawn a massive backlash on social media, with users calling out NBC to fire him.
Good Good Comedy Theatre, where Gillis had worked, told Vulture that it “stopped working with him within the past few years because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage.”
In response to the uproar, Gillis claimed that he has made “bad misses” in his 10 years as a comedian and that he is happy to apologize to anyone “actually offended by anything” he has said.
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of bad misses. I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said. My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
However, his “apology” fell flat to many.
“Calling people c***ks and saying it’s annoying when they try to learn English isn’t a risk, its racist,” “Wu Assassins” star Lewis Tan replied. “My family damn near died to be here. You were racist. It’s only a risk if you talk this way around me, then it is a risk as my intention will be different than yours.”
“Shang-Chi” actor Simu Liu demanded a “more genuine” apology.
“Don’t make yourself some sort of martyr of comedy dude. You don’t get to hide behind that. Own up, face the music and make a more genuine apology.”
Gillis’s past continued to haunt him Saturday, when an audio of himself calling Andrew Yang a “Jew ch*nk” surfaced online.
According to Vice News, his remark comes from a May episode of “Real Ass Podcast,” hosted by comedians Luis Gomez and Zac Amico, which was previously accessible as a video.
“Actually, they are running a Jew c***k,” Gillis told the hosts as the Memorial Day episode tackled the 2020 Democratic presidential field.
“Chang, dude. Yang? Or Chang?” he struggled saying.
Yang responded in a Twitter thread expressing his preference for comedy that “makes people think,” as well as his openness to engage in conversation.
“Shane — I prefer comedy that makes people think and doesn’t take cheap shots. But I’m happy to sit down and talk with you if you’d like.”
He added that Gillis should not lose his job.
“For the record, I do not think he should lose his job. We would benefit from being more forgiving rather than punitive. We are all human.”
The Democratic presidential candidate went on to share his own experience with racism.
“I’ve been called c***k and g**k any number of times in my life. It can be extraordinarily hurtful to feel like you are somehow not part of the only country you have ever known. I have certainly felt that — the churning sense of alienation, anger and marginalization.
“It’s also the case that anti-Asian racism is particularly virulent because it’s somehow considered more acceptable. If Shane had used the N-word the treatment would likely be immediate and clear.”
However, Yang pointed out that he does not see Gillis as “malignant” or “evil,” but rather a “still-forming comedian” who “made some terrible and insensitive jokes and comments.”
“But I took the time to watch and listen to Shane’s work. He does not strike me as malignant or evil. He strikes me as a still-forming comedian from central Pennsylvania who made some terrible and insensitive jokes and comments.”
“I think we have, as a society, become excessively punitive and vindictive concerning people’s statements and expressions we disagree with or find offensive. I don’t think people should be losing jobs unless it’s truly beyond the pale and egregious.
“I understand those who have another point of view on this. Obviously the folks at NBC are the real decision-makers. But if I can forgive Shane, as the guy he called a slur, I hope others can as well. I also hope Shane is open to learning. We are all human, we’re all fallible.”
Featured Images via YouTube / Comedy Central Stand-Up (Left) and Instagram / @andrewyang2020 (Right)
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