Yang became the fourth cast member of Asian descent following Rob Schneider, Fred Armisen, and Nasim Pedrad (who hails from Iran which is considered Western Asia).
The sketch comedy show also announced the addition of comedians Chloe Fineman and Shane Gillis. However, it didn’t take long before footage from a 2018 podcast of Gillis surfaced where he can be heard using racial slurs against Chinese people as well as mimicking a “Chinese” accent.
The segment was featured on the YouTube channel called “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” and posted on Twitter by freelance writer Seth Simons. The original YouTube video was deleted after clips began to spread online.
Gillis also spoke on how “an Asian trying to learn English” bothers him, with both hosts seemingly satisfied with the racist nature of their exchange:
Gillis: “It’s funny too because that’s more annoying than any other minority playing music at a restaurant out on their phone. An Asian trying to learn English bothers me more than someone listening to like Lil Uzi Vert while I’m trying to eat f*cking dinner.”
McCusker: “That’s hilarious.”
Gillis: “Yeah, nice racism.”
McCusker: “That’s good racism.”
Gillis: “I love to [incoherent] f*cking racist.”
In another part of the video, Gillis can be heard mimicking a “Chinese” accent to portray his “difficulty” conversing with a waitress at a Chinese restaurant.
Gillis: “Yeah even with the f*cking sh*t. I was pointing. I was like ‘That sauce. That.’
‘She’s like, ‘Yes.’
‘I’m like, ‘Yeah, that one.’
‘She’s like, ‘Yeah? Medium or ah spicy.’
‘I’m like, ‘Medium.’
‘She’s like, ‘Spicy.’
‘No medium. Spicy.’”
Gillis can also be heard throughout the video mocking the very word “Chinese” by referring to the ethnicity and people as “Chi-nee.”
It did not take long for Twitter to chime in:
Yeah if you want to know what being a person of color is like, it’s literally that for every Bowen Yang-shaped step you take forward, you also take one racist-ass Shane Gillis-shaped step back https://t.co/mTkG1rBzf6
Just wanna say this, as much as racism makes me angry and won’t be tolerated, it comes from ignorance and insecurity. You can not carry that energy into your life or work. It is a poison. Have a blessed day, give a stranger of a diff race a compliment today. Spread love.