October 20, 2019

Shane Gillis Dropped From ‘S.N.L.’ Cast Amid Criticism of Racist Slurs

Shane Gillis Dropped From ‘S.N.L.’ Cast Amid Criticism of Racist Slurs

Shane Gillis, a comedian named last week to the “Saturday Night Live” cast before videos surfaced in which he used slurs and offensive language, will not be joining the show, the program announced on Monday.

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining ‘S.N.L.’” a spokesperson for the show said in a statement.

“We want ‘S.N.L.’ 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 ‘S.N.L.’ 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, 31, came under fire just a few hours after he and two new cast members — one of them the show’s first Chinese-American — were named for the coming season. A journalist unearthed a video of a podcast in which he used a slur in referring to Chinese people and mocked a caricature accent of a Chinese person speaking English.

In another podcast recording, Gillis used homophobic slurs to describe Judd Apatow, the comedy filmmaker and producer, and the comedian Chris Gethard.

In a Twitter post that night, he called himself “a comedian who pushes boundaries” and that in comedy, “you’re going to find a lot of bad misses.” He also issued something of a nonapology apology: “I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”

On Friday, Vice News uncovered another podcast in which Gillis used the slur, this time prefaced by the word “Jew,” in referring to the Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Senator Bernie Sanders. Later in the podcast, which was broadcast this past May, he acknowledged the toxicity of his language, describing himself and others he was bantering with as “fat ugly idiots promoting hate.”

After “Saturday Night Live” announced he would not be joining the cast, Gillis wrote on Twitter that he respected the decision.

Gillis, a native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., has been a rising star in comedy, performing in major clubs in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere. Two clubs in Philadelphia, however, said they had stopped working with him because of jokes that were, as one of the clubs put it, “racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic.”

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