Openly gay Univision TV host Rodner Figueroa was fired yesterday immediately after comparing Michelle Obama to a cast member of Planet Of The Apes during a live broadcast.
The Emmy-winning host was dismissed over the racist remark said during his live segment on the entertainment news show “El Gordo Y La Flaca,” HuffPost Voces first reported. Univision confirmed the news via e-mail earlier today. Figueroa’s comment came while talking about make-up artist Paolo Ballesteros’ viral undertaking of transforming himself into female celebrities. The fashionista, known for his critical “Fashion Police”-style remarks, analyzed Ballesteros’ transformation for Michelle Obama with an original photo of the first lady beside it. “Mind you, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she’s part of the cast of “Planet of the Apes,” the film,” Figueroa said. Host Raúl de Molina attempted to counter the comment saying he thought Obama was very attractive. The show aired live on the East Coast and was edited for the West Coast.
Figueroa has already been scrubbed from all of the Univision website. Later yesterday he published an apology in an open letter to the First Lady. An excerpt:
“I want to make it clear that I’m not racist and my comment wasn’t directed personally to you, but to the characterization of the artist, that left a lot to be desired. The clip in full context is proof. I feel embarrased, I ask for forgiveness, because there is no excuse for a professional like me to make those types of comments that can be interpreted as offensive and racist in a volatile moment that we live in our country. I take full responsibility for the lack of judgement in my part, but I can’t accept that I am being called a racist, being fired for that reason and being humiliated by Univision after working there for 17 years. I come from a bi-racial Latin family, with family members, like my father, who is Afro-Latino. I am the first presenter on Hispanic TV that is openly gay and I am an activist for causes that favor minorities that have been discriminated against just like me. I openly voted twice for your husband Barack Obama, because I consider him a great man that respects minorities, like me, in this country.”