Saturday Night Live welcomed three new cast members for its upcoming 45th season on NBC and one is already under fire for comments he made prior to being hired on the late-night comedy sketch series. Comedians Chloe Fineman, Shane Gillis, and Bowen Yang have been cast as featured players.
On the same day of the announcement of his hiring, Gillis came under fire for reportedly using racist, sexist and homophobic slurs in a since-deleted YouTube video, reported Variety. The entertainment news publication reported that Gillis’ publicly posted work revealed a “history of denigrating women, Muslims, and the LGBT community, among other groups.”
He previously hosted a podcast with comedian Matt NcCusker titled Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast.
Yang is the only Asian-American series regular in the cast. He joined the show’s writing staff during Season 44 and appeared as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a skit on the series, reported CNN. Fineman was recruited from The Groundlings, a comedy troupe that has boasted many Saturday Night Live legends, including Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, Maya Rudolph, Julia Sweeney, Phil Hartman, Jon Lovitz, Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell, and Cheri Oteri.
Gillis issued a statement via Twitter Thursday night, saying that he’s a “comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. Happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”
He also claimed his intentions are not to hurt anyone, but being the best comedian he can be requires “risks.”
The series has not yet officially commented on Gillis’ past videos or podcast comments.
Saturday Night Live is still rebounding from the loss of five-year cast member Leslie Jones, who, as The Inquisitr previously reported, has left the series. She will star alongside Saturday Night Live alum Eddie Murphy in the sequel to his 1980s smash film Coming To America, titled Coming 2 America.
Murphy has also been pegged to host and participate in the Saturday Night Live holiday episode, his first return as a performer to the show in 35 years, on December 21.
Saturday Night Live will debut Season 45 on September 28 with host Woody Harrelson and Billie Eilish as the episode’s musical guest. On October 5, Phoebe Waller-Bridge will host with musical guest Taylor Swift. For the October 12 show, actor David Harbour of Stranger Things will host, with musical guest Camila Cabello. Kristen Stewart will host on November 2. No musical guest has yet been announced for her appearance.
Saturday Night Live airs on Saturdays at 11:30 p.m. EST on NBC.