A comedian with a history of homophobic and racist remarks was fired from the cast of “Saturday Night Live” just days after he was hired by NBC.
Shane Gillis, who joined the show at the same time as out gay comedian Bowen Yang on September 12, was sent packing on September 16, NBC announced.
Gillis’ homophobia and racism was evident during episodes of “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” during which he said comedian Chris Gethard and director Judd Apatow are “gayer than ISIS” and “white faggot comics.” In a separate episode from last year, Gillis made racist statements toward Asian people, pushed false stereotypes about food culture in Asian communities, and mocked accents of Asian people.
Even after the news of Gillis’ bigotry surfaced, he refused to directly apologize. Instead, he said only that he would be “happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” NBC said in a written statement provided to The Daily Beast. “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.”
The network further claimed they had no knowledge of his past statements and apologized for that oversight, saying, “We are sorry we did not see these clips earlier, and that our voting process was not up to our standard.”
Following NBC’s announcement, Gillis again issued a statement — and again did not apologize.
“It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making public statements, but here we are,” Gillis said in a tweet. “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.”
Yang, on the other hand, will remain on the show — and he’ll make history in the process. The comedian is the first Asian person and first gay Asian person to join the show. He is the fifth out LGBTQ person to be a full-time cast member following Danitra Vance, Kate McKinnon, Terry Sweeney, and John Milhiser.