“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 to CNN. “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 news of his ouster, Gillis wrote on Twitter, “I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get ‘SNL.’ That can’t be taken away.”
He added: “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.”
In one since-deleted video, Gillis says, “Let the f—ing ch–ks live there,” of Chinatown. Gillis also mocks a Chinese accent, the language barrier and says, “Chinatown’s f—ing nuts.”
Gillis responded to the backlash Thursday night, posting on Twitter that “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of bad misses” and that “I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”
2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang over the weekend extended an offer to Gillis to “talk” via Twitter, after stating “I prefer comedy that makes people think and doesn’t take cheap shots.” Yang, who is Taiwanese-American, added in a second tweet that he didn’t think Gillis should lose his just-announced job.
Gillis is just the latest example of a comedian’s past comments and actions gaining new attention in the online world.
Gillis was due to start his new job at “SNL” as part of the show’s 45th season, which premieres September 28 with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.
CNN’s Kyung Lah contributed to this report.