Rodner Figueroa, a talk show host at Univision, has written a public letter to First Lady Michelle Obama, asking for her forgiveness after being fired for comparing Mrs. Obama to someone from “The Planet of the Apes.” In the letter, he insists his comment was never intended to be interpreted about Obama herself, but rather the makeup artist’s poor effort to copy the First Lady’s look.
“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.”
Figueroa writes that while nobody at Univision objected initially to his comment, he was called and fired after the network received a complaint from the Mrs. Obama’s office. “Although the comment was unpleasant and out of line, I do not deserved being called a racist and I have to defend myself for respect and love to my family, my father, my fans and my community. I was notified verbally that due to a complaint from your office I was fired.”