The news of Gillis’s casting was met with an outcry after it was revealed that the comedian had a history of making racist and homophobic comments.
“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.”
Gillis responded to the news of his sacking on his Twitter account, writing: “I’m a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can’t get taken away.”
He added: “Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction.
“I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity.
“I was always a Mad TV guy anyway.”
Mad TV was a comedy show that ran in the US from 1995 to 2009 before being briefly revived in 2016.
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SNL announced last week that Gillis had been cast alongside Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang for the show’s new season, premiering on 28 September.
It emerged not long afterward that Gillis had previously used racist language while discussing Chinese people in a podcast.
Another podcast features Gillis making homophobic comments in reference to other comedians.