After videos resurfaced of him using racial and homophobic slurs, new Saturday Night Live cast member Shane Gillis has issued a statement defending his actions.
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss,” Gillis wrote 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 Thursday, the same day that SNL announced his addition to the cast, a since-deleted video from 2018 resurfaced of Gillis making racist jokes about Chinese people and using homophobic slurs on a podcast.
“Chinatown’s f—ing nuts,” Gillis said in one clip from September 2018, shared by comedy journalist Seth Simons. “Let the f—ing chinks live there, huh?” He went on to adopt a stereotypical Chinese accent throughout the segment. Later in the episode, Gillis said the conversation between him and his co-host Matt McCusker is “nice racism, good racism.”
Gillis has a history of making offensive remarks, as pointed out by Vulture. In another podcast episode, he and McCusker make fun of Judd Apatow and Chris Gethard’s emotionally open style of comedy by calling them homophobic slurs and “f—ing gayer than ISIS.”
The co-owner of a comedy theater in Philadelphia, where Gillis was based through last year, told Vulture they ceased working with him “because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage.”
Gillis is one of three new cast members added to SNL on Thursday, the others being Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang. Yang, who is Chinese American, is the show’s first cast member of East Asian descent since Fred Armisen, who is a quarter Korean.
SNL returns Sept. 28 with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish.