Kenan Thompson Says 'SNL' Firing Shane Gillis Was ‘Very Touchy’

Kenan Thompson, Shane Gillis.

Kenan Thompson Says 'SNL' Firing Shane Gillis Was ‘Very Touchy’

He defends his former employer after racism scandal.

Published October 14th

Written by Moriba Cummings

Saturday Night Live, ahead of its new season, came under fire for casting comedian Shane Gillis, who fans of the show exposed as an unapologetic racist and homophobe. The show was pressured into taking immediate action, firing Gillis from the gig before he even got a chance to start, and SNL vet Kenan Thompson is sharing his thoughts on the controversial situation.

According to Deadline, while at the New Yorker Festival over the weekend, Thompson addressed the Gillis situation, and explained how he sees the firing as a reflection of the SNL brand.

"It's very touchy out there," he said. "It's interesting to see things like that happen, whatever side of the argument you're on. I don't think any of us who work there go out with the intent to offend people or hurt anyone's feelings. Matching with that ideology, that's the brand [show producers and NBC] want to keep alive."

Elsewhere in the interview, Thompson, who famously portrayed disgraced comedian Bill Cosby on the sketch show, admitted to being heartbroken by the actor's convicted actions.

"It's one of the more heartbreaking things of my life," he said, adding that Cosby was "the first comedian I grew to know." "My job is to hold a mirror up to what life is."

(Photos from left: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for The New Yorker, Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Clusterfest)

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