US news presenter fired over racist comment on Paolo Ballesteros’ Michelle Obama transformation

Emmy award winner, television host Rodner Figueroa was fired over racist comments on United States First Lady Michelle Obama’s looks in Paolo Ballesteros make-up transformation. On El Gordo y la Flaca (The Scoop and the Skinny) of Univision network March 12 episode, Figueroa said “you guys know that Michelle Obama looks like she was from the cast of Planet of the Apes.” The show is an American Spanish-language entertainment news show. Raul de Molina, trying to go lite on his co-host’s statement, said, maybe Figueroa means the First Lady is “beautiful and attractive.” However, Figueroa insisted “no, but it’s true.”

The TV network immediately acted on the incident. “Yesterday during the entertainment program ‘El Gordo y La Flaca’, Rodner Figueroa made some comments about First Lady Michelle Obama that were completely reprehensible and in no way a reflection of the values and opinions of Univision,” the network said. “As a result, Mr. Figueroa was fired immediately.”

Figueroa apologized. “I take responsibility for this lack of judgement in my part, but I can’t accept that I am being called a racist and 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,” he said. “I openly voted twice for your husband Barack Obama, because I consider him a great man that respects minorities, like me, in this country,” he added.

He was also removed from Sal y Pimienta (Salt and Pepper) and Nuestra Belleza Latina (Our Latin Beauty), both produced by Univision.