“Saturday Night Live” (SNL) announced Monday that comedian Shane Gillis will no longer join the program’s cast as planned, after videos surfaced of Gillis using racial slurs.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” said SNL’s executive producer Lorne Michaels.
Shane Gillis is OUT at SNL. Per NBC: pic.twitter.com/NJJpLGABPp
— Andrew Chow (@andrewrchow) September 16, 2019
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 a 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 was offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting was not up to our standard.
Just days after SNL announced Gillis’s addition to the cast, audio surfaced of Gillis using derogatory language about Asians.
Warning: this video contains expletives.
today SNL announced the hiring of its first cast member of East Asian descent, and also this guy pic.twitter.com/0FAGJZJUkK
— Seth Simons (@sasimons) September 12, 2019
Gillis apologized for his comments, but the apology wasn’t enough for the SNL producers, who ended up revoking Gillis’s offer to join the show.
“I’m a comedian who pushes the boundaries. I sometimes miss,” Gillis wrote on Twitter.
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.
After Gillis’s past remarks surfaced, 2020 White House hopeful tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who is Taiwanese-American, weighed in on the controversy, calling the comments offensive but advocating for forgiveness rather than punishment. Yang offered to sit down with Gillis rather than pushing for the comedian’s removal from SNL lineup.
“I believe that our country has become excessively punitive and vindictive about remarks that people find offensive or racist and that we need to try and move beyond that if we can,” Yang said.
After SNL announced Gillis would no longer be joining the show, Yang reported on Twitter that the two would be getting together soon.
“Shane Gillis reached out. Looks like we will be sitting down together soon,” Yang wrote.
Shane Gillis reached out. Looks like we will be sitting down together soon.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) September 16, 2019