A new Saturday Night Live comedian has been axed from the show before his first appearance after a video emerged of him making “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable” slurs about Chinese people.
Shane Gillis faced a backlash soon after it was announced he was joining the long-running US sketch show.
After footage of him making offensive comments was shared online, SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels confirmed he has removed Gillis from the cast.
A spokesman for Michaels said: “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 a 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 has posted a statement on Twitter saying it felt “ridiculous for comedians to be making serious public statements but here we are”.
He added: “I’m 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. I respect the decision they made. I’m honestly grateful for the opportunity.
“I was always a mad TV guy anyway.”
Gillis apologised after the footage emerged last week, saying on Twitter: “I’m happy to apologise to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said. My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and that sometimes that requires risks.”