"Saturday Night Live" announces Leslie Jones will join the cast

NBC confirmed that the SNL writer is officially a cast member!

Published October 21, 2014 12:12AM (EDT)

Leslie Jones     (NBC)
Leslie Jones (NBC)

"Saturday Night Live" writer and occasional "Weekend Update" guest Leslie Jones has been promoted to cast member. The report first surfaced on Deadline.com, and was confirmed to Huffington Post by NBC.

Jones was hired as a writer in January along with LaKendra Tookes and cast member Sasheer Zamata. Zamata was the fifth black woman hired as a cast member in SNL's history, making Jones the sixth.

Before the start of the 39th season, "SNL" rightfully drew intense criticism due to the show's lack of diversity. It had just hired six new cast members: five men, and one woman -- all of them white.

Following the announcement of her promotion to cast member, Jones and "Saturday Night Live" took to Twitter to share the news:

[embedtweet id="524333904795156480"]

[embedtweet id="524330538312531968"]

Jones faced backlash after a controversial "Weekend Update" sketch about slavery in May of 2014; she responded to critics on Twitter.

By Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Comedy Leslie Jones Lorne Michaels Nbc Saturday Night Live Snl Writer