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Shane Gillis Fired From 'SNL' For Racist Comments — Get The Details

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Who Is Shane Gillis? New Details On Newest 'Saturday Night Live' Cast Member Under Fire For Racist Comments

UPDATE: "After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining 'SNL,'" an 'SNL' spokesperson on behalf of Lorne Michaels said in a statement to CNN. "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.' 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."

Just as it was announced that Leslie Jones was leaving Saturday Night Live, new cast members were announced. While most are arriving without much furor, one cast member is coming under fire and for good reason. Who is Shane Gillis, and why is there such controversy surrounding his hiring?

Let's look at what we know about this new addition to the cast. 

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1. He overshadowed Bowen Yang's hiring. 

According to Vox, Bowen Yang was the first-ever Asian hiring in Saturday Night Live's more than 40-year history. Despite this being a momentous occasion, his historic hiring was overshadowed by Shane Gillis' racist remarks. 

2. Shane Gillis was once considered a "rising star" in comedy. 

NPR went to the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival back in July, and they caught Shane Gillis' performance. "Shane Gillis gives off post-jock energy — like someone who used to play a sport in school, then had the self-awareness to realize he wasn't cut out for it and stopped — but he isn't bitter about it at all. His friendly demeanor distracts you, while he sneaks in just a whiff of social insight within a barrage of self-deprecating sex jokes," reported the outlet.

3. But recently-resurfaced video shows him making ethnic slurs. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, when Shane Gillis was hired on Saturday Night Live, audio resurfaced of him using an ethnic slur against Asians on his podcast. (Obviously, we're not going to reprint that slur here. But think of the worst thing you can say about Asians, and he said that and then some.) 

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4. Both Asian and non-Asian celebrities spoke out against Shane Gillis. 

"While Shane Gillis has defended his remarks, Simu Liu is not having any of it. Taking to Twitter, Simu Liu explained that the racial slur that Shane Gillis used has had a long-standing history of suppressing Asian people in the Western world, and he is hopeful that NBC will take action soon," reported Heroic Hollywood. 

5. His apology was considered "half-hearted." 

According to The Times Union, Shane Gillis' apology — in which he defended himself by saying he's an "edgy" comedian — is considered half-hearted by most of his critics. And, for good reason. 

6. Should Shane Gillis be fired? Many people think so. 

"In case it wasn’t clear, nothing in the extended digressions about Chinatown or what counts as (in Gillis’s words) “nice racism” qualifies as great comedy; it doesn’t even rise to the level of intelligible conversation. Gillis’s defense that he’s simply taking “risks” in the name of a good laugh is euphemistic and disingenuous at best. Decades after its debut, Saturday Night Live remains a career pinnacle that so many comedy professionals aspire to; the question now is whether Michaels and NBC will reflect on what it would mean for working and aspiring comics if the show included Gillis in the cast," reported The Atlantic, echoing the voices of so many. 

We want to hear from you about this story! Should Shane Gillis be fired? Tweet your thoughts at @YourTango

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.