Breaking his silence. Shane Gillis spoke out on Monday, September 16, after being axed from Saturday Night Live days after a controversial video of him using a racial slur resurfaced.
“It feels ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements but here we are,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get on SNL. That can’t be taken away. Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction. I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity.”
He concluded by saying, “I was always a Mad TV guy anyway.”
Us Weekly confirmed on Monday that the NBC series had dropped Gillis amid the controversy. “After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” an SNL spokesperson on behalf of executive producer Lorne Michaels confirmed to Us. “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.”
The statement continued, “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 unveiled as one of season 45’s three new additions with Bowen Yang, the show’s first Asian star, and Chloe Fineman on Thursday, September 12. Hours after Gillis was confirmed for the upcoming season, he faced social media backlash for controversial comments he made in a year-old clip from his podcast “Matt and Shane’s Secret.”
“Why do the f–king ch–ks live there?” Gillis said when discussing his disdain for Chinatown. “Get those ducks out of that window.”
In the wake of the criticism, Gillis issued an apology via Twitter for his earlier comments.
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss,” he wrote on Thursday. “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 is actually offended by what I 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.”
Saturday Night Live returns for season 45 on NBC on Saturday, September 28, at 11:30 p.m. ET.