NOTE: There is highly offensive language quoted directly in the story, which has been included verbatim because some of the source material appears to have been removed from the internet. Variety secured a copy of part of the offensive material prior to its removal from YouTube.
A video clip of Shane Gillis using an anti-Asian racial slur resurfaced on Twitter Thursday afternoon, just hours after he was announced as one of three new “SNL” cast members. A further look at his publicly posted works reveals a long history of denigrating women, Muslims and the LGBT community, among other groups.
In an episode of Gillis’ podcast, called Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, he tells comedian Matt McCusker “Chinatown’s f—ing nuts.”
“Let the f—ing ch-nks live there,” says Gillis. He later recalls a restaurant being “full of f—ing Chinee [sic] in there.”
The video recording of their podcast session has since been deleted from YouTube.
Elsewhere in that episode, “Ep 98 Ka Pow,” Gillis and McCusker discuss the various religions’ views of heaven. Gillis proclaims “Muslim heaven” as “the best.”
“There’s only one way there, dude,” replies McCusker.
“You gotta spill blood, you gotta praise Allah by spilling blood,” says Gillis.
The video was brought to Variety‘s attention by Seth Simons, a freelance writer and editor who covers comedy and posted a clip of the footage on Twitter. Later in the video, which dates from Sept. 26, 2018, Gillis talks about going to Chinese restaurants.
“The translation between you and the waiter is such a f—ing hassle, I’m pointing at it,” he says.
The video appears to be from a podcast recording of Gillis’ two-man show. According to Gillis’ website, “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” is available on iTunes, and Gillis regularly appears on the Bonfire on Sirius XM.
During the same podcast recording, Gillis comments that their conversation is “nice racism, good racism.”
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].”
Neither NBC nor representatives for Gillis at UTA replied to Variety‘s repeated requests for comment on Thursday.
Gillis issued a statement via Twitter Thursday night, saying that he’s a “comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss.” He also says he’s “Happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said” and that his intention is “never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
Gillis was unveiled alongside Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, the first full-time cast member of East Asian descent, Thursday morning as joining the long-running NBC sketch comedy series. Gillis was recently recognized as a New Face at the 2019 Just for Laughs Festival.
News of the new cast members comes approximately two weeks after it was announced that Leslie Jones would be exiting the series after five seasons. It had been speculated at that time that Kate McKinnon would also be leaving the show, but she is poised to return when “SNL” begins its new season on Sept. 28 with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.
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