Comedian Shane Gillis has been fired by Saturday Night Live after it was revealed he had made racist and homophobic comments on podcasts and in his comedy routines as recently as this past May.
"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL," an SNL spokesperson on behalf of Lorne Michaels told TV Guide. "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 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."
On Twitter, Gillis responded to the news of his ouster with a defensive statement that read, in part, "I'm a comedian who was funny enough to get on SNL. That can't be taken away." The comic added that he respected the show's decision because his inclusion as part of the cast would be a "distraction," but that he was "more of a Mad TV guy anyway."
Soon after he was announced on Sept. 12 as one of three new featured performers on Saturday Night Live, Gillis' history of racist and homophobic language was resurfaced on Twitter by journalist Seth Simons. In a widely circulated video from Gillis' podcast, Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast, the comic is heard using racial slurs to describe Chinese people and Chinese culture.
"Chinatown's f--ing nuts," Gillis said in the video, which was produced in 2018. "Let the f--ing ch---s live there." Later in the conversation, Gillis describes their chat as "nice racism, good racism."
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
On the same show, Gillis also used homophobic slurs to describe comedians like Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard, and called them "f---ing gayer than ISIS."
As Vice reported, Gillis was recorded using racial slurs as recently as May 2019. On an episode of Real Ass Podcast this year, Gillis referred to Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang as a "Jew ch--k." Responding to Gillis via Twitter, Yang wrote, in part, "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." While condeming Gillis' use of the slur, Yang added, "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."
After his past remarks were resurfaced, Gillis posted a non-apology on Twitter, wrting, "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."
Saturday Night Live returns for Season 45 on Sept. 28 with Woody Harrelson as host and Billie Eilish as musical guest. New cast members include Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, who is the show's first Asian-American performer in its history.