Saturday Night Live fired Shane Gillis just days after announced he was going to join the long-running sketch comedy series. After Gillis was hired, podcasts featuring Gillis using homophobic and racial slurs went viral on social media. A show spokesperson said they did not see the clips before hiring him.
"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL," a show spokesperson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "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 was hired on Thursday, along with Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang. Hours later, footage of Gillis recording a podcast surfaced, showing Gillis using racial slurs about Chinese people and mocking Chinese restaurants. In another episode of the same podcast, Gillis was heard making homophobic jokes about Judd Apatow and other comedians.
Gillis later issued an apology, which many found unconvincing. Calls for his ousting from SNL only grew louder.
"I'm a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss," Gillis wrote in a message shared on Twitter. "If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you're going to find a lot of bad misses. 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."
On Monday, Gillis issued another statement, saying he respected the decision.
"Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction," he wrote. "I respect the decision they made. I'm honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a Mad TV guy anyway.
Gillis, Yang and Fineman were hired as new cast members after Leslie Jones announced she would be leaving. Yang is a writer on the show, and will be the first Asian-American comedian to join the SNL cast.
SNL kicks off Season 45 on Sept. 28 with Woody Harrelson hosting and Billie Eilish performing.