(CNN) — Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang reiterated on Monday his belief that Shane Gillis should have kept his job on “Saturday Night Live” after the comedian’s bigoted comments against Chinese Americans came to light.
“You know, I’ve been public about my comments,” Yang, who is Taiwanese-American, told CNN during a gaggle with reporters after a campaign rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, following news of the comedian’s ouster. “I think that he deserved another chance to keep his job, but the folks at NBC obviously felt differently.”
Asked why he believes Gillis deserved another chance, Yang said he believes “as a society, we have become unduly punitive and vindictive about people making statements that some find offensive or distasteful.”
“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,” he said.
Shortly after Gillis’ hire was announced last week, his past defamatory comments about Chinese Americans and homosexuals made during a podcast surfaced, prompting the comic to apologize. The long-running sketch comedy show announced on Monday it had fired Gillis and that his remarks were “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable.”
Yang said Monday afternoon that Gillis reached out to him.
“Looks like we will be sitting down together soon,” he tweeted.