Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said Saturday that he does not believe that controversial new "Saturday Night Live" cast member Shane Gillis should lose his job over his use of an anti-Chinese slur, adding that he was "happy to sit down and talk" with the comedian.
NBC announced Thursday that Gillis would be one of three new cast members on the venerable variety show. Hours later, a YouTube video surfaced of Gillis and fellow comedian Matt McCusker discussing an unidentified city's Chinatown neighborhood.
At one point, Gillis asked: “Why do the f---ing c---ks live there?” before complaining that Chinese restaurants are full of "f---ing Chinese. ... And the translation between you and the waiter is just such a f---ing hassle." He also said he was more annoyed by hearing an Asian trying to learn English when he's eating out than by any other "minority" playing music. He characterized that reaction as "nice racism, good racism," adding that whites would be a similar target if they were speaking English "over there," not specifying where he meant.
Early Saturday, Page Six reported that Gillis had described Yang as a "Jew c---k" on a podcast hosted by fellow comedians Luis J. Gomez and Zac Amico.
In a statement late Thursday, Gillis offered to apologize "to anyone who's actually offended by anything I've said."
"I'm a comedian who pushes boundaries," the statement began. "I sometimes miss. If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you're going to find a lot of bad misses ... My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.
Yang retweeted Gillis’ statement Saturday and responded: “Shane - I prefer comedy that makes people think and doesn’t take cheap shots. But I’m happy to sit down and talk with you if you’d like."
In a follow-up tweet, the presidential candidate added: “For the record, I do not think he should lose his job. We would benefit from being more forgiving rather than punitive. We are all human.”