People were cheering last week when Saturday Night Live, announced three new cast members to the lineup of its upcoming season.
Among them was Bowen Yang, an SNL writer and the first East Asian-American cast member in the show's 40+ year run.
While they applauded Yang's achievement, the celebration was marred by the actions of another new SNL cast member: Shane Gillis.
Gillis referred to Asian-Americans as "f---ing ch--ks" and used homophobic slurs and other racist and misogynistic rhetoric in resurfaced clips from his podcast. Gillis made the remarks last year—2018.
In May of this year—2019, Gillis referred to 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang as a "Jew ch--k."
People immediately called for Gillis's removal from the SNL lineup. While his fate remained uncertain, Democratic candidate Andrew Yang offered Gillis a chance to discuss the remarks.
Yang reached out to Gillis via Twitter in response to an apology Gillis offered that many felt was lacking.
Andrew Yang elaborated on his experiences as an Asian-American in the United States.
Yang's stance for forgiveness struck a decidedly different tone than many of those who heard Gillis' repeated remarks.
And Gillis implied his use of racial and homophobic slurs and other forms of bigotry were "risks" intended to make him the best comedian he could be.
"My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks."
Because for White cisgender heterosexual men like Gillis, racism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry are their only ways to be funny? What was the message there?
Considering how recent the remarks were—and that Gillis made them repeatedly—it was hard for some people to justify rewarding him with one of the most sought-after jobs for any comedian: a weekly gig on Saturday Night Live.
Bu others commended Yang for his willingness to take the higher road.
Then, on Monday afternoon, Lorne Michaels and SNL issued an official statement.
Shane Gillis is out at SNL.
"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining 'SNL.' 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."
In response, Gillis stated on Twitter he was good enough for SNL, but didn't want to be a distraction.
According to Yang, Gillis has since reached out to him about sitting down to talk following his departure from SNL.
It's unclear yet when the meeting might take place, but hopefully it's a sign that Gillis is now truly remorseful and willing to learn from his past mistakes.
In addition to his candidacy, Andrew Yang is the author of several books. His latest, The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future, is available here.