OCA Applauds NBC for Denouncing Racism and Supporting Diversity

16 September 2019


Contact: Thu Nguyen | Communications Manager

202.223.5500 | tnguyen@ocanational.org

Washington, DC – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates commends NBC for their swift action in removing comedian Shane Gillis from the cast of Saturday Night Live (SNL) due to his record of racist jokes. OCA applauds the recruitment of Bowen Yang, the first Asian American comedian cast member on SNL.  These actions are a recognition of NBC’s commitment to denouncing racism and supporting diversity.

On September 12, 2019, NBC announced the cast for the 45th season of Saturday Night Live, which included the historic announcement of Asian American comedian Bowen Yang. Immediately afterwards, videos of fellow cast mate Shane Gillis surfaced in which he mocked Asian Americans and used racial slurs against Chinese Americans. Following immediate complaints from the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, of which OCA a proud member of, NBC Universal revoked Gillis’ casting. (See the APAMC statement here.)

“It is unfortunate that the hiring of Shane Gillis overshadowed the first Asian American cast member for SNL, Bowen Yang,” said Rita Pin Ahrens, OCA National Executive Director. “Retaining Shane Gillis would have been detrimental to Asian American and Pacific Islanders, women, the disabled, and members of the LGBTQ community, as discrimination and hateful language would have been promoted by a mainstream network on primetime television. We are proud to work with leaders at NBCU who are responsive to our community’s concerns. OCA is excited to celebrate the groundbreaking elevation of Bowen Yang on SNL and watching comedy that all of America can laugh along with.”