Shatner didn't say anything different than what was said in a dozen threads here when the news came out, also with humour.
Ah, yes - those threads where outraged fans vented their anger at the news, only to be opposed by fans welcoming the news.
You can tell right away who is joking in those threads and who doesn't care one way or the other (they're a minority).
What Shatner said - about an acquaintance, not a close friend - is not a joke.
Regardless of how explicit or implicit you try to make this assumption in transparent attempts to excuse him.