It’s official: Shane Gillis will not make his debut on Season 45 of Saturday Night Live. Ahead of the show’s return on October 5, a spokesperson has released a statement from SNL creator/executive producer Lorne Michaels, which announces Gillis has been let go over racist comments made on his podcast.
Here’s the statement, courtesy of THR:
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL. 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.”
Just last week, the Philly-based stand-up comic was announced as a new castmember alongside Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang. But within 24 hours of the announcement, racist comments Gillis had made on Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast went viral, sparking calls for his firing. Gillis responded to the outrage with a tweeted apology. However, the initial clips proved to be part of a long history of bigoted remarks Gillis had made on his podcast, on stage, and off.
Vulture reached out to members of the Philly comedian scene, where Gillis had begun to lose work because of his bigoted remarks. One comedian told them, “Just want to say as a comedian who came up in Philly comedy at the time Shane was blowing up, [it] was extremely discouraging! As a queer female-bodied comedian, a man using the language he did and got so much recognition for was really disheartening.”
On top of Gillis calling Chinese-Americans “ch*nks” in the viral clip, Vulture also found sexist comments in Gillis’ podcast archive, while Variety found Islamophobic remarks, and CNN found recordings of Gillis using the homophobic slur “f*ggot.” As recently as last May, Gillis could be heard on his podcast calling Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang a “jew ch*nk.”
When that came to light, Yang quote-tweeted Gillis on Twitter, offering to talk to him about the “cheap shot.”
Shane - I prefer comedy that makes people think and doesn’t take cheap shots. But I’m happy to sit down and talk with you if you’d like. https://t.co/YxbzQ5WVLX— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) September 14, 2019
At the end of this thread, Yang forgave Gillis.
I understand those who have another point of view on this. Obviously the folks at NBC are the real decision-makers. But if I can forgive Shane, as the guy he called a slur, I hope others can as well. I also hope Shane is open to learning. We are all human, we’re all fallible. 👍— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) September 15, 2019
But it seems SNL worried viewers might not. So, Gillis is out, but he wants you to remember, “I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away.”
Here’s how Gillis responded to news of his ousting:
True. Gillis will forever be a part of SNL history. It says a lot about him that he doesn’t seem to care that it’ll be as a tawdry footnote. At best.
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