Shane Gillis, one of the most recent additions to the cast of Saturday Night Live, has been fired from the show.
The day NBC announced that Gillis, along with comedians Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, would be joining the cast last week, a video from 2018 resurfaced of the comedian using racial slurs.
During an episode of “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” which features Gillis and fellow comedian Matt McCusker, Gillis says of Chinatown: “Let the f***ing ch**ks live there,” among other comments.
Many swiftly called on SNL to fire Gillis.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining ‘SNL,'” a statement from SNL, which was given to several media outlets, said on Monday.
“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.”
Gillis Says He “Respects” SNL’s Decision
After the news of Gillis’s firing broke, the comedian wrote on Twitter that he respected the decision.
“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 cant be taken away,” he wrote. “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.”
Last Thursday, as the controversial video of Gillis was first being circulated, he also tweeted that he was “happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended” but maintained he is still a “comedian who pushes boundaries.”
Former SNL Cast Member Defends Gillis
Though many on social media were happy to see Gillis go, former SNL cast member Norm Macdonald came to the comedian’s defense on Twitter.
“Hey, Shane, I’m so sorry. I can’t even imagine how you must feel,” he wrote.
In the same tweet, Macdonald also mocked Seth Simons, the comedian who had originally shared a short clip of Gillis’s contentious 2018 podcast episode.
“The work it takes to get that show and to have it snatched away by some guy who does ‘Spoken Bird’ poetry. Unacceptable. Please DM me, pal, when you have a moment. I’m so sorry,” Macdonald said.
Simons retaliated in turn: “Ahhh, nooo, not the dumb embarrassing art I made as I figured out how to make my current art, which is good, and also not racist.”
Andrew Yang Says He Plans to Meet With Gillis
Presidential candidate Andrew Yang also announced on Monday that Gillis had reached out to him, and the two are planning to meet soon.
Yang had originally said he prefers comedy that doesn’t take “cheap shots,” but that Gillis didn’t seem to be “malignant or evil.”
“He strikes me as a still-forming comedian from central Pennsylvania who made some terrible and insensitive jokes and comments,” Yang said. “I think we have, as a society, become excessively punitive and vindictive concerning people’s statements and expressions we disagree with or find offensive.”