September 17, 2019

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Mayeda, 310.413.3504


The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition celebrates the groundbreaking promotion of Bowen Yang to the cast of "Saturday Night Live."  The hilarious and multi-talented Yang becomes the first full Asian cast member in SNL's 44 year history.  The Coalition and many of its member organization have urged NBC for many years to include Asian Americans on the show as hosts, writers, and cast members.  The past three years have seen a number of Asian American or Pacific Islander hosts, including Aziz Ansari, Dwayne Johnson, Kumail Nanjiani, Awkwafina, Jason Mamoa, and Sandra Oh.  Last year, Yang was hired on the SNL writing staff and appeared in a skit. And now that the nation's fastest growing racial or ethnic group is finally represented in its cast, we predict the show's comedy will be fresher and more authentic.

The Coalition also thanks the network for taking decisive action to cut ties with Shane Gillis after the revelations of his recent history of casually using racist and homophobic slurs, mocking Chinese culture and accents, and denigrating women, LGBTQ Americans, and the mentally challenged.  This is not a minor matter of hurt feelings.  As our letter to the Co-Chairs of the network last week pointed out, dismissing an ethnic group with the slur "f*cking Ch*nks" is precisely what hate crime perpetrators do before engaging in physical violence against Asians or Asian Americans.  Gillis' non-apology "apology" only underscored his lack of understanding that relying on ethnic stereotypes and mockery of differences among Americans is tired and boring, not a mark of "taking risks" for the sake of comedy.  We applaud NBC for recognizing that associating the network and SNL with someone who believed that anti-Asian racism is "nice racism, good racism" must be avoided.

The Coalition is grateful for its partnership with NBC and its responsiveness to the Asian American community's expressed concerns.  We look forward to an exciting new season of SNL.

                      *                  *               *

The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) has been advocating for greater diversity and inclusion of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (APIs) in network television since 1999. It has agreements (Memoranda of Understanding, or MOUs) with ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC committing them to work to increase diversity on-screen and behind the camera. APAMC members include Asian Americans Advancing Justice—AAJC, East West Players, Japanese American Citizens League, Media Action Network for Asian Americans, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, National Federation of Filipino American Associations, OCA—Asian Pacific American Advocates, Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Visual Communications.