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.
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.”