Yang tweeted on Monday that Shane Gillis, who was fired from the show on that same day, had reached out to him and that the pair will be “sitting down together soon.”
The comedian has been at the center of controversy since the NBC show announced the newest members of its cast for its 45th season last week. In footage from “Real Ass Podcast,” on which Gillis appeared in May, the comedian repeatedly referred to Yang as a “Jew chink.” He had also made a host of anti-Asian comments, saying that New York’s Chinatown is “full fucking China. It is [Chinese] down there.”
“Let the fucking chinks live there,” he’s heard saying in a mocking tone.
In another clip, Gillis was heard complaining about Asians “trying to learn English” and claimed that it irritates him more than “any other minority playing music in a restaurant loud on their phone.”
The comedian’s remarks were all the more disheartening because “SNL” had also announced the addition of Bowen Yang, only third Asian to join the cast in its decades-long history.
Yang responded to the racist rants while on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, acknowledging that anti-Asian racism “hurts.” However, he claimed that he feels “our country has become excessively punitive and vindictive about remarks that people find offensive or racist and that we need to try and move beyond that if we can, particularly in a case where the person is, in this case to me, like a comedian whose words should be taken in a slightly different light.”
The presidential candidate had also tweeted that he felt Gillis shouldn’t lose his job over the remarks.
Yang’s comments have since drawn further criticisms from many commenters online who felt Gillis shouldn’t be excused for his behavior, regardless of the comedic context.
In a statement released Monday, a spokesperson for “SNL” claimed that they “were not aware of [Gillis’] prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days.”
“The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable,” the statement said. “We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”
Gillis responded with his own statement, claiming that he’s “a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t be taken away.”
“Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction,” he wrote on Twitter. “I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity. I was always a mad tv guy anyway.”