Less than a week after Saturday Night Live announced its three new cast members, one of them has already been fired from the show following a controversy surrounding his recent racist and homophobic remarks. Last week, clips began to circulate of new featured player Shane Gillis on his podcast, in which he made multiple racist statements about Asians and also used homophobic slurs. Gillis later posted a statement about it on Twitter, saying, “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss … 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.”
An SNL spokesperson on behalf of Lorne Michaels released a statement today, revealing that the show has decided to part ways with Gillis ahead of next week’s season premiere:
After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL.
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.
Following the news, Gillis posted another statement on Twitter. “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,” he wrote. “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.”