USA Today

Fired Univision Host Explains Remark About Michelle Obama

Mar 13, 2015  •  Post A Comment

A TV host is speaking out after being fired for a remark he made on the air about first lady Michelle Obama. USA Today reports that Rodner Figueroa, who was fired Thursday by Univision for a comment on the program “El Gordo y la Flaca,” apologized for the remark.

During a discussion Wednesday about a makeup artist who takes on the appearance of celebrities, Figueroa said: “Well, watch out, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she’s from the cast of ‘Planet of the Apes,’ the movie.”

In an open letter to the first lady, Figueroa wrote: “I would like to explain that my remark was not directed at you, but at the result of an artist’s depiction of you that I found wasn’t accurate. The entire video clip in context corroborates this.”

Figueroa, a Daytime Emmy Award winner, had been with Univision for 17 years and had been a part of “El Gordo y la Flaca” since 2000.

He added in his letter: “I feel embarrassed, and I hope you can forgive me, because there is no excuse. As a professional, I hold myself to high standards and there is no justification for someone at my level to make any kind of comment that could be interpreted as offensive or disrespectful to you personally, or to any minority in the times we live. I accept full responsibility for this lack of judgement on my part, but I cannot accept being labeled a racist by Univision, for whom I have worked for 17 years, or to anyone who may have misinterpreted my comments.”

Figueroa noted that he comes from a multiracial Hispanic family and that he is the first openly gay Hispanic TV host, adding: “I’ve been a minority activist throughout my career, championing a number of causes geared towards supporting minorities; people who, like me, have been the focus of discrimination.”

rodner figueroa-univisionRodner Figueroa


  1. As a Multiracial Hispanic 1 of 4 siblings, a mother of 2 ,and grandmother of 2. I have to say that although I am embarrassed myself by Mr. Figueroas more than hurtful statement and even more disrespectful that it regarded our First Lady, I believe even She would have reprimanded him, but not fired him.

  2. I agree. Suspension for a week would have been severe enough.

  3. As a white male in his fifties, married, father of one, and one who voted for Obama for president twice, this does not surprise me. Jealousy and envy are part of the glamor/celebrity culture in the US. Looks like the organization took its opportunity to jettison another self centered spotlight lover.

  4. As a black female in her 40’s sibling to two, daughter to a mother and father, granddaughter, cousin to many, and a working professional, I’m here to tell you that being a minority does not excuse ignorance, discrimination or bigotry. Mr. Figueroa was made an example of and I hope that others will learn from his mistake. Black people should never be compared to apes.

  5. Well all I can is that Michelle Obama really isn’t that attractive. Does that excuse what was said? No, but I don’t think the reporter was being racist either.

  6. I am single, white, “Craka,” “Gringo,” Caucasion and personally I am tired of this crap. Who really care what this guy has to say? It is an Entertainment Show. Have we lost our minds? What happens if he had made a comment about a Middle-Eastern person being a “terrorist?”

    Personally, I feel that he is full of s**t. I wish that I could get upset whenever I feel as though there has been an in-justice done to me. His being gay and a minority has no bearing on what he said. He is just ignorant but again, what if he made a comment that I found that was offensive to me? People need to start being accountable for themselves.

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