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SNL says Shane Gillis will not join its cast after all

Sarah Todd

Saturday Night Live announced Monday afternoon that Shane Gillis will not be joining its cast after all.

Gillis was announced as a new member of the SNL cast last week, but quickly came under fire for making racist, homophobic, and sexist remarks in his comedy podcast and elsewhere. An SNL spokesperson issued the following statement on behalf of the show’s executive producer, Lorne Michaels:

After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL.

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.

In addition to the strong public criticism that presumably played a role in pushing SNL to this decision, it’s noteworthy that the statement explicitly blames the show’s vetting process. As comedian Jaboukie Young-White said at a panel at the New American Festival on Sunday, Sept. 15, Gillis’ offensive comments were pretty easy to find. Episodes of Gillis’ podcast, Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, had already been deleted from YouTube when reports of his racist remarks began circulating last week. But the audio recordings remained available.

As news of his un-hiring spread, Gillis, too, released a statement about what happened.

Gillis’ rapid exit at SNL is the latest example of how the internet has shaped the public’s ability to affect hiring decisions. As the New York Times notes in its coverage of the Gillis news, comedian Kevin Hart was prompted to step down as the host of the Academy Awards after public pushback over homophobic remarks he made on Twitter years earlier. In 2015, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah was subject to a backlash over old tweets containing offensive remarks, after he was announced as Jon Stewart’s replacement, but he ultimately kept his position.

 

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