'Fired' punchline for racist jokes

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 18 Sep 2019

American TV comedy show Saturday Night Live has fired comedian Shane Gillis for racist jokes about Chinese.

That came just four days after he was unveiled as a cast member and before he actually appeared.

Videos of Gillis using the term "chinks" and making homophobic comments triggered a backlash after last Thursday's announcement he had joined the cast.

Producer Lorne Michaels was quoted as saying "we're sorry we did not see these clips earlier and that our vetting process was not up to standard."

Gillis, 38, said he understood the decision, writing on Twitter he "would be too much of a distraction" on the NBC show.

His offensive comments were made during the recording of Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast.

The videos have been removed from the podcast's YouTube channel but circulated on social media. One clip was viewed more than four million times by Monday.

In one conversation, Gillis and co-host Matt McCusker discuss in mocking terms Chinatown neighborhoods. And Gillis also describes two prominent comedians as "faggot comics."

Seen as a rising star on the stand-up comedy circuit, Gillis said he was "happy to apologize to anyone who's actually offended," and added that he is a "comedian who pushes boundaries."

Many people went online to note that Gillis was hired by SNL at the same time as Bowen Yang - of Chinese heritage and also gay.

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