"Gillis’s humor doesn’t so much expand boundaries as shrink them back to where they were in the 1950s"
In a piece for THR, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slammed Shane Gillis and his “apology” for his racist remarks.
Gillis, who was hired and fired within a week from SNL, came under fire after footage surfaced of him calling Andrew Yang a “Jew chink” and mocking Chinese people.
The American actor released an apology addressing his comments saying, “I’m a comedian who pushes boundaries. I sometimes miss. I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said.”
Abdul-Jabbar has now hit back at Gillis and his apology by writing an article for THR.
First, Abdul-Jabbar described Gillis’ “homophobic, anti-Asian and misogynistic slurs” as “desperately unfunny, derivative and dripping with flop sweat”.
Gillis’s level of comedy is “not the point” for Abdul-Jabbar, who stated that everyone can have off-days in their respective fields. “Comedians have the right to be unfunny sometimes, just as athletes have the right to lose games, and actors to be in bad films,” he said. However, Gillis’s comments were not just unfunny, writes Abdul-Jabbar, but they were “hate-based”.
The retired Lakers MVP went on to say that when evaluating whether the comments are offensive, we need to consider the when they were made, if the person has changed over time and the sincerity of their apology.
“All of us cringe at the hurtful things we may have said or done in our youth because it was acceptable behavior at that time, but today are thankful to be enlightened enough to feel guilty,” the 72-year-old writes. “Interviewers often ask me what advice I have for the younger me just starting out as a professional athlete. It wouldn’t be about sports, it would be about being a more charitable, compassionate and understanding person.”
“Gillis made his offensive remarks just last year, long after the world had evolved past referring to the Chinese as “chinks,” and calling comedians like Judd Apatow “white faggot comics,” as he does,” Abdul-Jabbar added.
Abdul-Jabbar also does not believe that Gillis has changed much since he made the comments. “Only last year, Gillis described women who dressed as men to fight in the Civil War as “flat-chested fucking bitch[es],” which doesn’t show any shame, guilt or progress,” he writes.
Finally, Abdul-Jabbar tore apart Gillis’ apology. “Let’s start with his willingness to apologize to anyone “actually offended.” This is what pretty much every Real Housewife grudgingly says on almost every episode when forced to apologize for bad behavior,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“Racism isn’t an artistic risk, it’s just an expression of cultural ignorance and professional laziness,” he added.
Abdul-Jabbar concludes his piece by criticizing Gillis for showing gratitude to SNL before turning against them afterwards. “Just like the teen who got turned down for prom shouting, “Yeah, well, I never liked you anyway!” Shane Gillis’s 15 minutes ends just as one would predict, not with a bang but with a whoopie-cushion whimper.”
Last month Abdul-Jabbar wrote a piece for THR slamming Quentin Tarantino for his racist Bruce Lee portrayal in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.