US comedy series Saturday Night Live has said that stand-up Shane Gillis will not be joining the cast following the controversy arising from a 2018 online video in which he made racist comments.

In a statement, Saturday Night Live said: "After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL.

"We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for SNL

"We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. 

"We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard."

Gillis said he respected the decision.

"Of course I wanted an opportunity to prove myself at SNL, but I understand it would be too much of a distraction," he wrote on Twitter.

The controversy began last week after it was announced that Gillis would be a new Saturday Night Live cast member. Other podcast comments made by Gillis added to the outcry.

He subsequently issued an apology, saying he was "happy to apologise to anyone who's actually offended by anything I've said".

"My intention is never to hurt anyone but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks," he added.

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