- Shortly after SNL announced Shane Gillis as a new show regular, the comedian faced backlash for several racist, homophobic, and sexist comments he made in old podcasts.
- Gillis then deleted his entire library of podcasts from YouTube and issued an apology for his past jokes on Twitter, saying “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries.”
Gillis Apologizes for Previous Comments
As Saturday Night Live adds its first gay Asian American series regular to its upcoming 45th season, another new cast member is coming under fire for using both racist and homophobic slurs.
Thursday afternoon, SNL announced it was adding Chloe Fineman, Bowen Yang, and Shane Gillis to its roster, the latter of which has now apologized for remarks he made in a series of podcasts posted to YouTube with fellow comedian Matt McCusker.
“Let the fucking ch***s live there,” Gillis said in a September 2018 podcast in reference to New York’s Chinatown.
In the same podcast, Gillis also refers to noodles as “nooders.”
“And the translation between you and the waiter,” Gillis said of Chinese restaurant staff, “it’s just such a fucking hassle. It’s like, can you, I’m pointing at it. Like this is the fucking nooder.”
Following the controversy, Gillis then deleted every video on his YouTube page, titled “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast.” Gillis possibly deleted all videos to shield himself against further controversy; however, copies of his podcasts have circulated online.
Later the same day of his announcement, Gillis apologized for his comments on Twitter.
“I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries,” he said in the post. “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. 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’m trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
Gillis’ Past Comments
A variety of media sites and people online have uncovered a plethora of now not-so-secret podcasts, where Gillis makes a wide range of racist comments about Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, and Jewish people. Gillis can also be heard making further homophobic and sexist comments.
In one podcast, Gillis criticizes comedian Sarah Silverman for discussing women’s rights.
Later, in the same podcast, Gillis criticized comedians who talk about their depression in their stand up routines, calling them “gay.”
“Those guys are fucking gayer than Isis,” Gillis said, then breaking into a caricatured accent. “At least Isis is out there, ‘We need to get the pussy. After we blow ourselves up, we get a bunch of pussy. These white, faggot comics they’re like, ‘I’m just sad life is hard and I’m gay.’”
In the same podcast, Gillis continues to make homophobic comments, using “faggot” and other slurs several more times.
“Stop calling me fucking gay, dude,” Gillis said in the podcast. “I ain’t no queer.”
After McCusker said he was not impressed with a Latino stand-up comedian, Gillis said he should have told the comic to go back to the Spanish-language TV station Univision.
Because of those comments like those, Kate Banford, who co-owns the Good Good Comedy Theatre, told Vulture that the theatre broke ties with Gillis over his history with slurs.
“Good Good Comedy Theatre stopped working with him within the past few years because of racist, homophobic, and sexist things he’s said on and offstage,” she said to Vulture.
Bowen Yang’s Addition
With Yang’s addition, many media outlets originally credited him as the show’s third openly gay cast member and first since John Milhiser’s exit in 2014; however, Yang joins Kate McKinnon, who is openly gay and has been on the show since 2012.
Many other outlets also originally described Yang as the first Asian American cast member, yet both Fred Armisen, who is half-Korean and appeared on the show from 2002-2013, and Rob Schneider, who is a quarter Filipino and starred on the show in the 1990s, are of Asian descent.
Yang began his time at SNL last year during its 44th season as a writer. Yang also portrayed North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during an episode hosted by Sandra Oh.
In recent years, SNL has come under fire for its lack of Asian cast members, with Vanity Fair reporting that the skit comedy show has featured so few Asian actors that it, at times, has used its production designer Akira Yoshimura to play Sulu from Star Trek. Yoshimura first appeared on the show in 1976 and has appeared as recently as 2017.
See what others are saying: (Washington Post) (NBC News) (Indie Wire)
PewDiePie Opens Up About Past Drinking Problem
To escape the stress of his online controversies, the YouTuber said he turned to alcohol, a strategy he described as “a recipe for disaster.”
PewDiePie Addressed Past Alcohol Issues
YouTuber PewDiePie uploaded a video Wednesday revealing that he previously dealt with a drinking problem.
PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, said that around 2017 and 2018, he used to drink whiskey every single day. When he tried to quit for health reasons, he struggled, which made him realize how attached he was to the substance.
“That’s when I realized, oh shit, maybe I do have a problem,” he explained. “And that’s why I quit drinking for a few months because I thought you know, I need to show I’m the one in control.”
After quitting the habit for a period of time, he said he convinced himself that it would be okay to re-introduce drinking back into his life. Kjellberg claimed the problem was at its worst when he was struggling with a handful of online controversies, though he did not specify which ones. Kjellberg has faced backlash numerous times throughout his career, including for using racist and anti-Semitic language.
“Drinking to sort of escape emotions is a recipe for disaster,” he said.
PewDiePie Says YouTube Addiction Fueled His Alcohol Addiction
“I was still not just addicted to escaping these emotions by drinking, but I think I was also addicted to YouTube, and I was so scared of losing YouTube through all these controversies that I was fueling one addiction out of my fear of losing another one,” Kjellberg continued.
The YouTuber explained that he was “nowhere near” the point where alcohol could have cost him his job or loved ones and he does not want to “co-opt all that pain” that many people endure. Still, he said he had reached a point where he had to rethink his relationship with drinking and ultimately decided the best thing to do was quit.
“It was really rough, especially because I was having a lot of withdrawals from it,” Kjellberg said. “It took me a long time to be able to sleep properly again, but I did manage it and I was done. And I haven’t touched it since, which I’m really proud about.”
Kjellberg admitted that he used to be embarrassed by the subject, which is why he waited so long to publicly discuss it. For a period of time, he also felt he had merely replaced one addiction with another because he began using nicotine patches. He said he has now quit nicotine twice and feels freer without the substance.
“That kind of felt like almost losing a friend. I’m not even exaggerating,” he confessed about the process of quitting nicotine. “It’s like something that you used to rely on but will no longer be there.”
Kjellberg discussed the thoughts many notable philosophers have had on vices and addiction and claimed their beliefs helped guide his choices. Now, he hopes others dealing with similar issues might hear his story and prompt change within their own lives.
“I’m hoping that talking about it might lead people to open their eyes about their own actions and what they’re also doing,” he explained. “And it’s a tough thing to admit.”
Fellow creators like Anthony Padilla and Jacksepticeye commented on the video to thank Kjellberg for sharing his experience.
“[This] will help so many people and gives such a better look at how strong you are,” Padilla wrote. “Love you dude.”
See what others are saying: (Dexerto)
Billie Eilish Advocates for Climate Action Ahead of U.N. COP26 Summit
The singer was joined by “The Office” actor Rainn Wilson and other big-name celebrities and activists in a pitch for world leaders to make substantial progress at the conference.
Billie Eilish Calls for Climate Action
Singer Billie Eilish partnered Tuesday with the environmental group Arctic Basecamp at the University of Exeter to call for meaningful climate action ahead of the U.N. COP26 climate conference.
“This year our leaders are deciding the global actions required on the environment climate emergency in a critical decade for our planet,” Eilish said in a video. “We must stand together and speak up to save our planet, not just for us, but for our future generations. And we need urgent, urgent action now.”
Eilish is no stranger to advocating for solutions to climate change. In September, the “Happier Than Ever” singer urged Congress to pass climate legislation as part of the #CodeRedClimate campaign. For her latest pitch with Arctic Basecamp, she was joined by other big names, including “The Office” actor Rainn Wilson, explorer Levison Wood, climate activist Daze Aghaji, and wildlife advocate Robert Irwin, who is the son of the late Steve Irwin.
“Courage. That’s what our world’s leaders need more than anything,” Wilson said in the video message. “The decisions that they make about the climate crisis in the next decade are the most important decisions in our planet’s history.”
What is COP26?
Arctic Basecamp works with scientists and other high-profile organizations all over the world to call attention to climate issues and encourage effective solutions. It was founded by Gail Whiteman, a professor at the University of Exeter, who released a statement thanking the slew of stars and activists for their involvement in the COP26 initiative.
“It is amazing to be working with such brave people that not only are using their voice but are using their voice for good,” she said. “This is a crisis and the Arctic is sounding the alarm. It is time that world leaders come together to create real change that ensures a safe future for humanity.”
COP26 will kick off in Glasgow on Oct. 31 and run through Nov. 12. Global leaders will discuss several actions regarding the environment, including pacts like the Paris Agreement and U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. They will also focus on a series of goals, including achieving global net-zero emissions by mid-century and protecting ecosystems, along with other infrastructure threatened by climate change.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pitched the event as a key moment for the world to come together and tackle climate change. This week, he described it as “our best chance to make the changes we need to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren.”
See what others are saying: (Billboard) (CNN) (The Independent)
Dave Chappelle Says He’s Willing To Meet With Trans Community Under Certain Conditions
After being criticized for transphobic comments, the comedian said he would give an audience to the transgender community even though he is “confused” about what they would be discussing.
Dave Chappelle Addresses Netflix Employees
Comedian Dave Chappelle responded on Monday to the recent backlash he has faced for making transphobic remarks in his new Netflix stand-up special “The Closer.”
Over the past several weeks, many employees at Netflix have protested against Chappelle’s program and numerous LGBTQ+ rights groups have condemned his comments. Netflix employees staged a walkout last week to call out “The Closer” and advocate for more trans and nonbinary employees to be included at the company.
Some reports have alleged that Chappelle denied the opportunity to speak with the trans community and allies at Netflix. In a new video addressing the controversy, Chappelle refuted that allegation.
“It’s been said in the press that I was invited to speak to the transgender employees of Netflix and I refused. That is not true,” he said “If they had invited me, I would have accepted it, although I am confused about what we would be speaking about.“
“I said what I said, and boy, I heard what you said. My God, how could I not?” he continued. “You said you want a safe working environment at Netflix. It seems like I’m the only one who can’t go to the office.”
Chappelle Says He Will Meet With Trans Community
Chappelle added that he would be willing to meet with the trans community but is not “bending to anybody’s demands.”
“I have some conditions. First of all, you cannot come if you have not watched my special from beginning to end,” Chappelle explained. “You must come to a place of my choosing at a time of my choosing, and thirdly, you must admit that Hannah Gadsby is not funny.”
Gadsby is a comedian best known for her Netflix special “Nanette.” While defending Chappelle, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos name-dropped Gadsby and “Nanette” as examples of the service’s offerings that give voice to marginalized communities. Gadsby shot back at the executive, saying she did not want him to “drag [her] name into [his] mess.”
“Now I have to deal with even more of the hate and anger that Dave Chappelle’s fans like to unleash on me every time Dave gets 20 million dollars to process his emotionally stunted partial world view,” Gadsby wrote on Instagram. “Fuck you and your amoral algorithm cult.”
During “The Closer,” Chappelle called himself “team TERF” while discussing author J.K. Rowling being “canceled” after making a series of transphobic comments herself. He said he agreed with Rowling and added that “gender is a fact.” He later made a slew of other comments, including a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
As outrage poured in, Sarandos released a series of statements in support of Chappelle and his artistic freedom. During his video, Chappelle thanked Sarandos, claiming that he has lost a series of opportunities amid the controversy. Chappelle recently completed a documentary that he says was going to screen at film festivals, but he is allegedly no longer welcome at those events.
“When this controversy came out about ‘The Closer,’ they began disinviting me from these film festivals, and now, today, not a film company, not a movie studio, not a film festival, nobody will touch this film,” Chapelled claimed. “Thank God for Ted Sarandos and Netflix, he’s the only one that didn’t cancel me yet.”
Chappelle later announced that he will be taking his documentary on tour to cities like San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, and Toronto.