Rodner Figueroa may be out of a job but he wants it known that he is not a racist.
The openly gay Univision style host was fired from his job this week after he said: ‘Mind you, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she’s part of the cast of Planet of the Apes.’
Figueroa made the comment during a segment on the program El Gordo y La Flaca about make-up artist Paolo Ballesteros’ viral transformations into various celebrities – including the US First Lady.
Univision issued a statement calling Figueroa’s comments ‘completely reprehensible’ and said they ‘in no way reflect Univision’s values or views.
‘As a result, Mr. Figueroa was immediately terminated.’
Figueroa has written an apology published by Latino Rebels in which he directly addresses Obama.
It reads in part:
‘I offer my sincere apologies for a comment I made about the characterization from what a makeup artist made about you during my appearance on Univision’s “El Gordo y la Flaca” entertainment program yesterday, and how it was misinterpreted.
‘I want to clarify that I am not racist in any way and that my comment was never directed towards you, but towards the characterization of that artist, who left much to be desired. The entire video clip in context will prove it.
‘I feel embarrassed and I apologize, because there is no excuse for a professional like me to make this type of comment, which can be interpreted as offensive and racist during such volatile times in our country. I take responsibility for this lack of judgment on my part, but I cannot accept being called a racist by anyone and be dismissed because of it, and be publicly humiliated by Univision after 17 years in this business.’
Figueroa then shares a bit of his personal story: ‘I come from a biracial Latino family, with family members like my father who are Afro-Latino. I am the first openly gay presenter on [U.S.] Hispanic TV and I’ve been an activist in favor of causes for minorities, as I have been discriminated against. I voted openly twice for you husband because I consider him a great man who respects minorities, like me, in this country.’
Figueroa writes that there is an attempt ‘to destroy my career unfairly’ without any kind of investigation that would clarify the situation.