Live from New York, it… won’t be Shane Gillis. The comedian, one of three new cast members recently announced for Saturday Night Live‘s upcoming 45th season, has been fired over a series of racist and homophobic comments that resurfaced online.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” says a show spokesperson on behalf of SNL boss Lorne Michaels. “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.”
(UPDATE: Gillis has responds to his firing by taking a swing at SNL — read his statement.)
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Just a few hours after Gillis’ casting was announced on Sept. 12, tweets began to circulate with clips from a particularly offensive episode of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, which Gillis co-hosted with fellow comic Matt McCusker in 2018. During a conversation about New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood, Gillis used a racist slur, asking, “Why do the f–ing ch–ks live there?”
Another episode found Gillis referring to Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard as “white f—got comics,” calling them “f—ing gayer than ISIS.” As if it wasn’t bad enough that Gillis made these racist and homophobic comments, one of SNL‘s other new hires for Season 45 is Bowen Yang, an openly gay Asian-American. The other addition is Groundlings performer Chloe Fineman.
In response to the backlash, Gillis released a statement on Thursday that, frankly, did him no favors. “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries,” he tweeted. “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.”
Your thoughts on NBC’s response to Gillis’ comments and non-apology? Drop ’em in a comment below.