'SNL' Fires New Cast Member Shane Gillis After Racist, Homophobic Remarks Surface
By Meredith B. Kile
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest
Despite being announced as a new cast member last week, Shane Gillis will not be appearing on the new season of Saturday Night Live.
The show announced on Monday that Gillis will not be joining SNL after racist and homophobic remarks made by the stand-up comedian surfaced on the internet almost immediately after his casting was revealed.
"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL," a spokesperson for the show said on behalf of executive producer Lorne Michaels in a statement to ET. "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."
Following SNL's statement, Gillis tweeted, "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."
Gillis was announced last week as the newest cast addition to the legendary sketch show's 45th season on Thursday, along with Bowen Yang and Chloe Fineman. However, almost immediately after the casting went public, clips surfaced of some of his old podcast episodes. In a since-deleted video from 2018, which was shared on Twitter by writer Seth Simons, Gillis makes racist jokes about Chinese people.
"Chinatown's f**king nuts," Gillis tells comedian Matt McCusker in the clip, from Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast. "Let the f**king ch*nks live there," he adds, later saying that he was at a restaurant "full of f**king Chinee [sic] in there."
As people continued to go through Gillis' past work, even more anti-Asian comments surfaced, including one in which he referred to Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang as a "Jew ch*nk." Meanwhile, Vulturenotes that Gillis allegedly has a history of making derogatory remarks, pointing out that he also made fun of Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard's style of comedy, calling them "f**king gayer than ISIS" in another podcast episode.
"I'm a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss," he wrote on Twitter last week. "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."