- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2019

White House hopeful Andrew Yang came out Saturday against calls for “Saturday Night Live” to fire one of the comedy program’s newest cast members over past racist jokes.

Mr. Yang, a tech entrepreneur seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said on Twitter that he was opposed to SNL potentially firing the comedian, Shane Gillis, in response to offensive comments he made before joining its cast.

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,” Mr. Yang tweeted to the comedian.

“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,” Mr. Yang added.

Mr. Gillis has faced backlash since his addition to SNL’s cast was announced this week after recordings surfaced of him making derogatory remarks about Asians — including Mr. Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants — as well as various offensive comments about women, Muslims, members of the LGBT community. He has since apologized amid calls for his firing.

In a podcast released in May, Mr. Gillis referred to Mr. Yang as a “Jew ch—k,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. He used similar language in other episodes currently available online.

“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. 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,” Mr. Gillis tweeted Thursday.

“I’m happy to apologize 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 sometimes that requires risks,” he added.

Mr. Gillis among three new SNL cast members named this week ahead of the show’s 45th seasons starting on NBC this fall. The others include Chloe Fineman and Bowen Yang, the latter being the show’s first Chinese-American cast member.

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