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From The Asian Reporter, V29, #19 (October 7, 2019), page 8.

"SNL" rescinds cast invitation to Gillis over YouTube video

By Mark Kennedy

AP Entertainment Writer

NEW YORK — "Saturday Night Live" rescinded its invitation to a cast member who posted a video last year in which he used a racial slur for Chinese people and derided Asians trying to learn English.

A show representative said the language Shane Gillis used was "offensive, hurtful, and unacceptable," and the show was not aware of the past remarks that had drawn criticism.

"Saturday Night Live" apologized, saying its vetting process "was not up to our standard."

In a tweet, Gillis said he respected the show’s decision and is "honestly grateful for the opportunity." He said he had hoped to have the opportunity to prove himself, but "I understand it would be too much of a distraction." He ended with a slight swipe at the show, mentioning that he was always a "Mad TV" guy anyway.

In the clip of video apparently posted in 2018, Gillis refers to an unidentified city’s Chinatown as being "nuts" and used a derogatory word for Chinese people. He also complained about "hearing an Asian trying to learn English."

The "Saturday Night Live" representative said the show hired Gillis "on the strength of his talent as a comedian and his impressive audition for ‘SNL.’"

The clip of Gillis re-emerged just hours after NBC said he and two others, including the show’s only Asian-American performer, were joining the cast as featured players.

"Saturday Night Live" has taken heat over the years for an overall lack of ethnic diversity, with scant Asian representation among its cast members or hosts.

Former players Fred Armisen and Rob Schneider both are one-quarter Asian, but neither has been widely recognized for their Asian ancestry. Among hosts, the long history of "SNL" includes a short list of Asian or Asian Americans, with Awkwafina, Aziz Ansari, and Jackie Chan among them.

 

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