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‘SNL’ fires recent hire Shane Gillis for his ‘offensive, hurtful’ language

A video of Gillis using a racial slur for Chinese people surfaced hours after the comedian was added as a featured player.

Shane Gillis
NBC

Comedian Shane Gillis, one of three performers announced last week as new “Saturday Night Live” featured players, has been fired from the show after clips surfaced of his racist remarks.

“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining ‘SNL,’ ” a show spokesperson said in a statement furnished to several news outlets. “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.”

The rep was speaking on behalf of “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels. Gillis had been one of three hires who also included Chloe Fineman and Asian-American comedian Bowen Yang.

When the clip first drew attention Thursday, Gillis issued a statement on social media that fell short of an apology. “I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said,” he wrote.

On Monday, Gillis tweeted that he respected “SNL’s” decision but added a cheeky plug for the show’s former rival: “I was always a ‘Mad TV’ guy anyway.”

The new season of “SNL” begins Sept. 28.