After days with no comment, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” has announced that new cast member Shane Gillis has been fired for recent racist, sexist, and homophobic comments made in 2018 and this year.
A spokesperson for “SNL” said on behalf of Lorne Michaels in a statement on Monday, according to Variety:
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL. We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”
Last Thursday, the iconic sketch comedy show announced the addition of new cast members Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman. Gillis was also among the newly hired cast. However, a 2018 podcast of Gillis quickly emerged after being posted to Twitter by freelance journalist Seth Simmons. In the series of videos, Gillis can be heard using a racial slur when referring to Chinese people, saying “Let the f*cking Ch*nks live there.” Gillis also spoke on how he is bothered listening to “an Asian trying to learn English.”
Gillis responded to the immediate backlash over his comments with a statement defending himself as a comedian that “pushes boundaries” and that he would be “happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve ever 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 ever 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.”
In response, Andrew Yang opened up to yang with forgiveness and understanding, defending Gillis in hopes that he would not be fired from his job as a punitive outcome but rather be open to learning from his mistakes.
On Monday, Gillis tweeted out another statement about his recent unemployment:
“It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements but here we are.
“I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away.
“Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction. I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a mad tv guy anyway.”
“Saturday Night Live” returns with a new season on September 28 with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.