This photo released by NBC shows Shane Gillis who was to join the cast of "Saturday Night Live," premiering its 45th season on Sept 28. (PHIL PROVENCIO / NBC VIA AP)
WASHINGTON — US comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL) dropped its newest cast member Shane Gillis after videos showing him making racist remarks against the Chinese community triggered an outcry.
"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining 'SNL'," a spokesman for the show said in a statement on Monday.
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
"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," the statement said.
The announcement came days after the show faced mounting criticism and pressure to cut ties with Gillis, as multiple videos showed the Pennsylvanian comedian making racist slurs against Chinese, imitating a Chinese accent as well as disrespecting Chinese culture.
The videos circulated on social media hours after SNL announced last week that Gillis was to join the cast, along with two other comedians.
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In response to the videos, Gillis defended himself on Twitter, saying he was "a comedian who pushes boundaries," a characterization that received further backlash from social media as "non-apology."
As regards to being disinvited to join SNL, Gillis again stopped short of apologizing for his remarks, saying he respected the show's decision and understood his presence "would be too much of a distraction."
Andrew Yang, a Chinese-American entrepreneur who is running for the US presidency, weighed in on the issue over the weekend, saying that it had been hurtful hearing racist slurs when he was growing up in the United States.
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According to US media, Gillis was known within the comedy circles for telling jokes that are borderline racist.
Two clubs in Philadelphia Gillis had worked with in the past terminated their cooperation after finding his jokes to be "racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic," according to the New York Times.
Asians in the United States have often been vulnerable to discriminatory or offensive remarks in US media
Asians in the United States have often been vulnerable to discriminatory or offensive remarks in US media.
In 2012, sports media ESPN twice used a discriminatory noun when referring to Chinese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin. One employee was fired and another suspended over the controversy.
In 2013, comedian talk show host Jimmy Kimmel showed a segment featuring a child saying he would "kill everyone in China" in order to solve the bilateral trade imbalance, prompting an uproar and a widely circulated petition to have Kimmel fired.
In 2016, a correspondent with Fox News conducted a series of mock interviews with passersby in New York's Chinatown, which was accused of depicting Asians in a stereotypical manner with traits of racism. The correspondent later expressed "regret" after the Asian American community staged a protest outside Fox News headquarters.
Some Asians are frustrated that although the US society has raised its awareness of anti-discrimination, Asians, particularly Chinese, are still prone to much racist offense in public forums that are often disguised as insensitive or comedy.
"Anti-Asian racism is particularly virulent because it's somehow considered more acceptable," said Yang, the presidential candidate, adding if a racist slur were made against blacks in the United States, "the treatment would likely be immediate and clear."
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