Andrew Yang says folks should forgive Shane Gillis -- the newest cast member on 'SNL' -- over racist remarks he made about Asians ... and more importantly, ease up on seeking retribution.
The presidential hopeful -- who's Taiwanese-American -- went on CNN Sunday to elaborate on his thoughts from these past couple days ... calling for Shane to NOT lose his new job at "Saturday Night Live," but instead ... to be forgiven and used as a teachable moment.
As we reported ... as soon as Shane was announced as a member of the cast for the upcoming season, people dug up an old video of him making racist jokes about Asians. He has since apologized to those offended, saying he sometimes "pushes boundaries."
Matt and Shane's Secret Podcast
There's been a mixed reaction to Yang's approach -- as he tells Jake Tapper -- but he defends his position, saying our society has become too punitive in these scenarios, and that we as a country should strive to be better ... opting for forgiveness when possible.
He makes another interesting point, arguing Asian epithets are often not taken as seriously as others made about other ethnic groups ... despite being just as hurtful.
Still, even with that said ... he says we should let this one go, especially considering that Shane is a comedian, and -- in Andrew's eyes -- their words should be taken in that context.
For the record, I do not think he should lose his job. We would benefit from being more forgiving rather than punitive. We are all human.
Of course, Yang has offered to sit down with Shane to discuss the issue further -- going on to say he doesn't support the guy losing his job, adding that in the big picture of Shane's past work ... he just doesn't find Shane to be "malignant or evil" in his intentions.
It doesn't sound like Shane has taken him up on the offer yet -- and NBC execs have been mum on what's gonna happen to Shane -- but at least the olive branch is out there.