It looks like presidential hopeful Andrew Yang is attempting to take the road less traveled with fired Saturday Night Live cast member Shane Gillis despite the fact he used racial slurs that targeted Asian Americans in a podcast he recorded before joining the NBC comedy show.
In the wake Gillis’s firing (he was just announced as a featured member so he barely was a cast member) Yang tweeted “Shane Gillis reached out. Looks like we will be sitting down together soon.”
Yang seems to be doing the right thing or doubling down (depending on how you look at it) because even when Gillis called him a “Jew ch**k” on a podcast he recorded in May, Yang responded in a string of tweets saying, “Shane – I prefer comedy that makes people think and doesn’t take cheap shots. But I’m happy to sit down and talk with you if you’d like.”
He added, “For the record, I do not think he should lose his job. We would benefit from being more forgiving rather than punitive. We are all human.” Yang went on to say the obvious in that racial slurs are “extraordinarily hurtful” and said he listened to Gillis’s work and does not see him as “malignant or evil.” Yang remarked, “He strikes me as a still-forming comedian from central Pennsylvania who made some terrible and insensitive jokes and comments.”
Gillis served up an apology after audio clips of him saying racial slurs came to light almost immediately after he was cast as a featured player on SNL alongside Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, who is Asian American. The apology, which stated, “I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said” did not go over well with many, specifically the Asian American community — except for Andrew Yang.
NBC announced today that Gillis would not be on SNL and apologized for any deficiencies in their vetting system that allowed for Gillis to be hired in the first place. Gillis tweeted that he respects NBC’s decision. And after all this, Yang is still willing to sit down with Gillis to hash things out, apparently.