Update, September 16, 2019: Saturday Night Live have announced that Shane Gillis will not be joining the cast.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL, " a spokesperson for the show, on behalf of Lorne Michaels, told Refinery29 in a statement. "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."
This article was originally published on September 14, 2019.
This week, the official cast for the 45th season of Saturday Night Live was announced. Among the three new cast members was stand-up comedian Shane Gillis. Shortly after the annoucement, Gillis came under fire for using racist, sexist, and homophobic language on his podcast with Matt Mckusker as recently as 2018.
Gillis’ podcast, Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, has since been scrubbed of content on YouTube, but the audio from the show is still available in various places online.
Comedian Seth Simons was among the first to post evidence of Gillis’ racist comments on Twitter. The clip features an extended “joke” about Chinatown and Chinese food.
Many celebrities and comedians reacted to the clips by calling out both Gillis and SNL. Actor Daniel Dae Kim pointed out the disappointing irony of hiring Gillis the same year they hired the show’s first Asian-American cast member.
After multiple clips of Gillis using both homophobic and sexist slurs began circulating on social media, he issued an apology on Twitter.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
Since his apology, even more racist audio has been highlighted from 2018. In one episode of the podcast, Gillis referred to 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang as a “Jew chink” and he used the Chinese-American slur over and over again, reports Vice.
Yang responded to Gillis' apology on Saturday, saying he does not think Gillis should lose his job over the matter but that he did not appreciate the remark and is "happy to sit down and talk" with him.
SNL and NBC have not yet commented on the issue. Refinery29 reached out to representatives for the network for comment.