- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said Monday that he disagreed with NBC’s decision to fire comedian Shane Gillis from “Saturday Night Live” over past racist remarks.

“I think that he deserved another chance to keep his job, but the folks at NBC obviously felt differently,” Mr. Yang said following a campaign rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, CNN reported.

Asked to elaborate, Mr. Yang said he believes that “as a society, we have become unduly punitive and vindictive about people making statements that some find offensive or distasteful,” CNN reported.

“As the person who was personally called out in this case, I thought that if I could set an example that we can forgive people, particularly in an instance where, in my mind, it was in a comedic context or a gray area, that I thought it would be positive. Obviously, it is in NBC’s hands and they made the decision they made,” Mr. Yang added, according to the network.

A spokesperson for SNL said earlier Monday that Mr. Gillis would not be joining the show’s cast for its upcoming 45th season as previously planned, citing prior “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable” comments that came to light in the days since his hiring was announced last week.

Mr. Gillis repeatedly used racist and bigoted language during comedy podcasts that recently came to SNL’s attention, including a May episode in which he used an ethnic slur for Asians while talking about Mr. Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants. He has since apologized.

Mr. Yang, a 44-year-old tech entrepreneur, said earlier Monday that Mr. Gillis had recently reached out and that the two would likely be speaking together soon. He previously spoke out against calls for the comedian’s firing, saying on Saturday that he favored “being more forgiving rather than punitive.”

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