In recent weeks, Saturday Night Live has been the subject of quite a lot of controversy, after videos and audio recordings surfaced of new cast member Shane Gillis using racial and homophobic slurs. SNL proceeded to fire Gillis several days after the clips gained attention online — but it looks like current and former cast members of the series are continuing to speak out. Shortly after winning the Lead Actor in a Comedy Emmy for his role on Barry, SNL alum Bill Hader was asked about the decision to fire Gillis.
“I have no thoughts on that,” Hader told reporters (via Entertainment Weekly). “I feel like you shouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Especially in comedy, you do stuff six or seven years ago that wouldn’t be okay now for good reason so I only speak for myself but, like anybody, you have to grow. I think it’s a good thing. I’m never interested in upsetting anybody.”
The controversy surrounding Gillis began just hours after his SNL gig was officially announced, when reporter Seth Simons shared video clips of Gillis’ podcast Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast on social media. The clips, which were originally posted just a year prior, saw Gillis use a derogatory term for Asian people, before proclaiming “I love to be a f–ing racist.”
Vulture then uncovered even more details about Gillis’ past as a comedian, and learned that he had a history of homophobic slurs and other racist comments. The report included a comment from Philadelphia’s Good Good Comedy Theatre co-owner Kate Banford, who explained that she was surprised by SNL‘s casting news because of his material.
“Good Good Comedy Theatre stopped working with him within the past few years because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage,” Banford said.
Gillis later took to social media to issue a statement about his remarks, claiming that he’s “a comedian who pushes boundaries” and that he’s “happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended” by his remarks.
Gillis’ firing from the show came just over a week ago, with an SNL spokesperson addressing the fact that Gillis’ problematic history had not been uncovered sooner.
“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. “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.”
What do you think of Bill Hader’s take on Shane Gillis’ Saturday Night Live firing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Saturday Night Live will premiere on September 28th, with host Woody Harrelson and musical guest Billie Eilish. Other upcoming hosts include Phoebe Waller-Bridge, David Harbour, Kristen Stewart, and Eddie Murphy.
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