Comedian Shane Gillis won’t be joining the Saturday Night Live cast, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Gillis was one of the new cast members announced last week, but after a podcast episode circulated in which he made racial and homophobic slurs, the sketch comedy show decided not to allow him to join the cast.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” said a show spokesperson on behalf of executive producer 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.”
In a now-deleted YouTube video, Gillis can be heard saying, “Chinatown’s f—ing nuts, let the f—ing ch—s live there,” using a racial slur. The video also shows Gillis mimicking a Chinese accent and mocking Chinese restaurants. On other episodes of his podcast, he has used racist and homophobic slurs, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The controversy circulated quickly and hours after SNL‘s new cast members announcement, Gillis tweeted, “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. 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.”
Earlier today (September 16) he addressed his quick departure from the show, tweeting, “I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get [cast by] 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.”