Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang told Hill.TV during an interview that aired on Friday that the notion of cancel culture has become a source of “fear” for many Americans in light of NBC’s decision not to hire Shane Gillis on “Saturday Night Live” over past racist remarks.
“Cancel culture has really become sort of a source of fear for many Americans where we live in a culture that you are somehow afraid that if you say the wrong thing that your life could be changed forever,” Yang said.
Yang added that those who are boycotted because of an offensive remark or action often have their lives “irrevocably altered even as the rest of us has moved on.”
“To me, it’s vital that we humanize each other,” he told Hill.TV. “We humanize the consequences of some of these impulses not just in terms if who hears the expression but who is losing a livelihood as a result.”
In his interview with Hill.TV, the entrepreneur also maintained that Gillis shouldn’t have been ousted for making a series of racist and anti-Asian remarks, one of which was directed at Yang himself.
“He was a still forming comedian that had made some terrible and offensive jokes, and to me, that did not rise to a level where he should lose his job,” Yang, who is Taiwanese-American, told Hill.TV, adding that the country has “become excessively punitive and vindictive around statements that people find offensive.”
But Yang acknowledged that not everyone in the Asian community agrees with how he handled his response.
“We’re a very diverse community and I would be shocked if everyone in the community agreed with the way I responded,” he said. “The biggest thing I hope for is that people — whether they agree or disagree with me — they see where I’m coming from and that I’m coming from at least a good place.”
Yang’s comments come after he faced backlash over his decision to stand by Gillis over the comedian’s bigoted comments.
The entrepreneur said on Monday that he plans to sit down with the comedian.
“Shane Gillis reached out,” he tweeted. “Looks like we will be sitting down together soon.”