Saturday Night Live has officially fired new cast member Shane Gillis after his history of bigoted “jokes” sparked a backlash.
Gillis was hired to be part of the series’ 45th season. Shortly after his hiring was announced, a Twitter user and comedy reporter posted clips of the comedian mocking Chinese-Americans and using homophobic slurs. Gillis issued an apology, but it was lackluster — he basically chalked it all up to comedy.
On Monday, NBC executives announced that Gillis would no longer be part of the show.
“We hired Shane on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
The disturbing snippets are from 2018 episodes of Gillis’s podcast, so they’re not exactly buried in history. In one clip, Gillis pokes fun at LGBTQ comedians using the F-word: “These white faggot comics, they’re like, ‘I’m just sad life is hard, and I’m gay.'”
Gillis tweeted a response to the decision: “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 was always a Mad TV guy anyway.
Most upsettingly, the controversy over Shane Gillis overshadowed a historic and celebratory SNL moment. The show also hired its first-ever cast member of East Asian descent, gay comedian Bowen Yang.