Saturday Night Live has fired Shane Gillis for racist and homophobic comments he made on his podcast in 2018 that resurfaced just hours after SNL announced his hiring.
“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.”
In response to the decision, Gillis posted a statement of his own on Twitter acknowledging that he had been let go from SNL.
“It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements but here we are,” Gillis wrote. “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.”
SNL’s decision to fire Gillis arrived several days after several videos of Gillis were shared by writer and reporter Seth Simons that highlighted racist and homophobic comments Gillis made on Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast. Those comments emerged hours after SNL announced Gillis’ hiring along with Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, the first performer of East Asian descent to be hired in SNL’s 45-year history, leading some to question SNL and NBC’s vetting practices.
Although this wasn’t the first time that someone’s offensive comments have resurfaced online, Gillis’ comments were notable because of how recently he made them: The clips that Simons posted online were from September 2018. Despite Gillis having taken some initiative to delete some of those episodes with offensive comments, a subreddit for his podcast chronicled many of those comments even after audio and video of them were removed online.
Gills addressed those comments in a statement posted online Thursday, noting that he would be “happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said” and that while he didn’t intend to hurt people with his comedy, “I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
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