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'SNL' drops Shane Gillis after video surfaces of comedian using Asian slur

"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."
/ Source: NBC News

"Saturday Night Live" has dropped new cast member Shane Gillis Monday after video circulated of the comedian using an Asian slur and making homophobic jokes during an episode of his podcast.

Video of Gillis making the jokes during an episode of "Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast" circulated on Twitter just hours after the show announced his hire on Thursday. Backlash quickly followed as many on social media pointed out the irony of Gillis being brought on to "SNL" at the same time as Asian American comedian Bowen Yang.

A spokesperson said in a statement on behalf of "SNL" executive producer Lorne Michaels that the comedy sketch show would not be going forward with Gillis for season 45. The statement apologized to viewers that the "SNL" vetting process "was not up to our standard."

"Saturday Night Live" airs on NBC, a division of NBCUniversal, which is also the parent company of NBC News.

"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,'" the statement said. "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."

Gillis said in a statement to his Twitter account Monday that he was "a comedian that was funny enough to get 'SNL.' That can't be taken away."

"Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself on 'SNL,' but I understand it would be too much of a distraction," Gillis said. "I respect the decision they made."

The video on the “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast” YouTube channel was seen by NBC News Thursday before it was removed. The page, established in 2017, is now completely empty and has no content.

While talking about the origins of Chinatown with his co-host Matt McCusker, Gillis said when the area was built people said, "Let the f------ ch---- live there."

The video also included impressions of Asian accents and the use of the word "nooders" instead of noodles. Gillis and McCusker also did a segment on which Asian country was "number one," which led to a discussion of Asian women.

McCusker did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

McCusker said that "Southeast Asian women take the cake" in terms of which women are the most beautiful.

"You like ladyboys?" Gillis asked.

"No I don’t love ladyboys," McCusker said. "That’s one thing I can’t party with dude."

"You can’t party with ladyboys?" Gillis said. "I bet you can."

Gillis then went on to joke that listeners should donate to the podcast's Patreon, a membership platform on which fans can subscribe to content, so that he could take McCusker to Thailand. The two then made jokes about performing fellatio on a young boy.