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.”