Shane Gillis demanded an apology for Asian jokes by AAPI Groups

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Several Asian American groups gathered in Los Angeles’ Chinatown neighborhood Thursday afternoon to call on comedian Shane Gillis to apologize for using “offensive racial slurs” in his stand-up performances.

Leaders from the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, Chinese American Citizens Alliance Los Angeles and the Greater Los Angeles Japanese American Citizens League gathered at the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Lodge for a press conference, during which the groups also implored Netflix to release Gillis’ new sitcom “ Tires” and that Bud Light has cut off all promotional funding for its comedy tour unless an apology is issued.

“For centuries, xenophobic stereotypes and slurs that portray Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners have endangered our communities, as evidenced most recently by the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents since 2020,” California House Representative Judy Chu said in a statement declaration. at the conference by Mitchell Matsumura, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League. “It is my hope that now, after these years of hatred and discrimination against our communities, Mr. Gillis has taken the time to reflect on his past words and actions and will finally apologize to the Asian American community.”

Gillis was criticized in September 2019 after videos of him using slurs resurfaced online. In a guest appearance on a podcast in 2018, Gillis said, “Chinatown is fucking crazy… Let those damn girls live there.” In another video, Gillis was seen calling then-presidential candidate Andrew Yang a “Jewish woman.”

At the time, Gillis had recently been announced as a new member of ‘Saturday Night Live’, but the controversy was followed by him being dropped from the show just four days after casting. In a statement at the time, Gillis said: “I apologize to anyone who was actually offended by what I said. It is never my intention to hurt anyone. But I try to be the best comedian I can be. And sometimes that entails risks.”

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MANAA founder and president Guy Aoki called the quote a “lame apology” at Thursday’s press conference in Chinatown. Gillis would later retract his apology on another podcast in November 2019: “Saying I felt fucking corny. I don’t know if I’ve really hurt too many people.’

In the years since, Gillis has become a prominent name in comedy. In addition to a successful stand-up tour, he self-produced “Tires” before selling the six-episode series to Netflix, which has since renewed it for a second season. His “SNL” arc also came to a close this spring, when he hosted an episode.

At the press conference, Aoki said he had sent letters to both Netflix and the Anheuser Busch brewery demanding Gillis make amends. The lack of response prompted him and other Asian American community leaders to hold a press conference on the issue.

“All of this sends a very hurtful message. If you stay away for a few years, slowly rebuild your career and carry on as if nothing happened, you can actually come back stronger than ever,” Aoki said. “There is a history in the industry where comedians who make offensive racial comments…don’t have to apologize.”

Cindy Wu, founder of the Anti-Asian Hate Coalition, said Gillis’ refusal to take responsibility “deepens” the wounds of Asian American communities.

“The aftermath of COVID-19 has left many Asian Americans struggling with increased discrimination and violence. Our communities are still healing,” Wu said. “So I call for accountability and apology.”

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