The news of Gillis’s casting was met with an outcry after it was revealed that the comedian had a history of making the remarks on a podcast recording.
“After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” a spokesperson for the show said.
Appearing on US series Lights Out with David Spade, Jeffries commented on the news, saying: “This is just cancel culture. The guy shouldn’t have been fired. It’s just a couple of things back in his history – are we going to to go through everyone’s history? Or are we going to get every sketch that SNL has done that involves race?"
He continued: "I remember Jon Belushi dressed as an Asian with a samurai sword and that was the whole sketch."
“Did they go back and also try and look back at good things the person might have done, or are the just looking for the bad stuff?” Burr asked, adding: “You could do that to anybody. I don’t get it. Millennials – you’re a bunch of rats. None of them care; all they want to do is get people in trouble.”
Burr continued: “I think if you go back 15 years in someone life, someone should go back 15 years in your life – basically, it’s ‘hey we went back and found out he's a human being, he f***ed up.’”
Jeffries highlighted how great it was that SNL had just cast Bowen Yang, its first Asian comedian, adding: “11 years ago when I came to America, I asked to audition and the response I got was, ‘He’s not American.’”
Former SNL star Spade weighed in on the debate. He said: “I think when I was younger on SNL, when you got hired the first move wasn’t to rifle through your past to make sure you got fired right away.”
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, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction.
“I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity.”