Tuesday 22 October 2019

New Saturday Night Live cast member dismissed over racial slurs

Shane Gillis made offensive comments about Asian people.

A newly announced cast member has been dismissed from Saturday Night Live over the use of a racial slur (NBCUniversal/PA)
A newly announced cast member has been dismissed from Saturday Night Live over the use of a racial slur (NBCUniversal/PA)

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

A newly announced Saturday Night Live cast member has been dismissed after footage emerged of him using a racial slur.

Shane Gillis had been revealed as joining the long-running US comedy show last week but hours later a video was shared online in which he made offensive comments about Asian people.

Amid a public outcry about his appointment, SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels has removed him from the show.

A spokesman for Michaels said: “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 a 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.”

Gillis’s dismissal comes after a 2018 YouTube video resurfaced in which he uses a racial slur against Asians.

During a discussion about Chinatown, he called the area “f****** nuts”, adding “let the f****** c***** live there”.

Critics pointed out the video emerged on the same day Gillis was appointed to SNL alongside Bowen Yang, the first full-time cast member of east Asian descent.

After news of his sacking was made public, Gillis tweeted to say that being funny enough to get the SNL job “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,” he added.

SNL will return for its 45th season on September 28, with actor Woody Harrelson on hosting duties and Billie Eilish as the musical guest.

Fleabag writer and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge will host the show on October 5, alongside musical guest Taylor Swift.

PA Media

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