Shane Gillis: Saturday Night Live’s new hire fired for slurs

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Shane Gillis performs at the Clusterfest comedy festival in San Francisco

US comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live has dropped a new cast member after videos surfaced online of him making slurs about Chinese people.

Shane Gillis, 31, came under fire soon after his casting was announced, when footage of a podcast showed the comic using derogatory language.

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” said a SNL spokesman.

Mr Gillis wrote on Twitter that he respected the show’s decision.

“Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction,” he said, just a week after it was announced he would join the NBC show.

The SNL spokesman said in Monday’s statement that the decision to fire Mr Gillis – less than one week after his casting was announced – followed a discussion with the comic.

“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.”

Mr Gillis’ casting came under scrutiny just hours after SNL announced he would be one of three new hires for the show’s 45th season.

A podcast resurfaced from September 2018 in which Mr Gillis mocked Chinese people, describing his remarks as “nice racism”.

In another episode from the same month, Mr Gillis was heard using homophobic slurs to describe Hollywood producer Judd Apatow and comedian Chris Gethard.

Mr Gillis defended the comments on Twitter saying he is a comedian “who pushes boundaries”.

He continued: “My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”

Shortly after the recordings circulated, Good Good Comedy Theatre in Philadelphia, Mr Gillis’ hometown, said on Twitter the club had “deliberately chosen not to work” with him because of his “overt racism, sexism, homophobia – expressed both on and off stage”.

In addition to Mr Gillis, SNL had announced the hiring of two other new cast members: Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang.

Mr Yang will be the show’s first full-time Chinese-American cast member.

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