“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining ‘SNL,'” an “SNL” spokesperson on behalf of Lorne Michaels said 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 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.”
Gillis posted his own statement on Twitter regarding NBC’s decision on Monday. It reads, “It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements but here we are. 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 [sic] guy anyway.”
Gillis was one of three new cast members announced last week for the long-running NBC sketch comedy show’s upcoming 45th season. But shortly thereafter, clips began circulating from Gillis’ podcasts and other media in which he repeatedly used racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language. In a widely-shared clip from “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” Gillis and co-host Matt McClusker are discussing New York’s Chinatown when Gillis says, “Let the f—ing ch-nks live there.” He later recalls a restaurant being “full of f—ing Chinee [sic] in there.”
In a separate podcast, “Ep 144 – A.I. is Racist,” Gillis and McCusker make fun of Asian accents about 22 minutes and 20 seconds in, referring to the video game “Clash of Clans” as “Crash of Crans” in a mock Chinese accent.
A little more than 21 minutes into “Ep 146 – Live from Shane’s Parent’s Basement,” while talking about the Battle of Gettysburg, Gillis refers to soldiers yelling as “so gay.” About 29 minutes into the podcast, Gillis uses the word “retard,” and “f-ggot,” and shortly afterward he and McCusker joke about “hot Southern boys” being raped during the Civil War, comparing it to “having gay sex in jail.”
Gillis, in describing women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the war, refers to them as “flat chested f—ing bitch[es].” He issued a statement last Thursday addressing the situation, writing in part, “My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
Not long after news of Gillis’ exit broke, Asian American Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted that the comedian had reached out to meet. Yang had on Saturday publicly offered to “sit down and talk” with Shane, adding that he has previously been hurt by racist remarks, but that society has become “excessively punitive and vindictive concerning people’s statements and expressions we disagree with or find offensive.”