Gillis came under fire after video and audio surfaced of him using language many felt was racist and homophobic.
Behar, a comedian herself, questioned whether the long-running comedy show has a double standard when it comes to who it allows on its stage, citing Dave Chappelle as an example of someone who has hosted despite past controversial comments.
“That sounds like a double standard to me,” said Behar. “A lot of people felt his Netflix special was very offensive. I’m not saying I do — I’m just saying this is a double standard,” she added.
Co-host Sunny Hostin wasn’t so sure it’s that cut-and-dried. “I don’t find racist jokes funny. I don’t find homophobic jokes funny, but I’m a proponent of free speech and I think comedians are there to be provocative and push and push,” said Hostin. “I don’t know how I come down on it.”
Gillis apologized on Twitter, saying he’s a “comedian who pushes boundaries.”
Despite his tweet, a “Saturday Night Live” spokesperson issued a statement announcing his departure from the cast, which said, in part: “After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL.”
The comedian responded on Twitter saying, “I respect the decision they made.”
Twitter users were split on the issue, with many writing they were happy the comedian won’t be showing up on “SNL” this fall:
@Shanemgillis was fired for being a bad comedian, period. Part of that is believing casual racism and homophobia are funny, or that this is "risky" comedy for a straight white man--there's nothing less risky than insulting already marginalized people from a position of privilege.— john edward martin (@PassableGhost) September 17, 2019
No one is guaranteed a platform, and shouldn't be given one if what they say is bigoted, simple as that. You think that you can say anything you want at any time without getting fired from any job? You need a reality check if that's what you believe...— Cactii (@HiCactii) September 17, 2019
Actress Sandra Oh, who has hosted “SNL,” also Tweeted she was “glad” to see Gillis cut from the cast:
Glad 2 see @nbcsnl decision NOT legitimize/give platform 2 purveyors of racist homophobic content Risks? LAZY ASS UNORIGINAL— Sandra Oh (@IamSandraOh) September 17, 2019
Others disagreed with the show’s decision and blamed “cancel culture” for the firing:
I'm a huge fan of SNL, however shame on them for giving in to cancel culture. These are comedians and we are the country of free speech. I find it disgusting. More fake outrage.— Nicole meinen (@jemmasthoughts1) September 17, 2019
Not every change is progress. Cancel culture is irrefutably regressive. Firing @Shanemgillis is undeniably wrong.— sam atman 🐻 (@wert0o) September 17, 2019
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