Univision took swift action and fired fashion commentator and TV host Rodner Figueroa after he made racist comments about first lady Michelle Obama during the network’s live afternoon entertainment and gossip show.
During yesterday’s “El Gordo y La Flaca,” Rodner said Michelle Obama looked like the cast from the movie “Planet of the Apes,” while an image of the First Lady showed on screen.
He made the racist remark during his live segment, in which he talked about makeup transformations by makeup artist Paolo Ballesteros, who makes himself look like famous women celebrities.
Shortly after his comment, the camera showed him with the show’s hosts – Lily Estefan and Raúl de Molina, both visibly uncomfortable.
Raúl immediately stated he thought the First Lady was attractive, but Rodner pressed on, saying “Raúl, don’t you remember the movie?” and stated “what’s the problem?” when the host insisted on Mrs. Obama’s attractiveness.
Today, Univision issued this statement on the incident:
“Yesterday during our entertainment program “El Gordo y La Flaca” Rodner Figueroa made comments regarding First Lady Michelle Obama that were completely reprehensible and in no way reflect Univision’s values or views. As a result, Mr. Figueroa was immediately terminated.”
Univision also wiped out all photos of the 42 year-old Venezuelan host from their web pages.
Rodner also co-hosted “Sal Y Pimienta,” a Sunday night gossip show. No word yet on his replacement.
Reaction was immediate on social media, criticizing and chastising the host for his racist comments, with an overwhelming majority approving Univision firing him. Many of them can’t be shared, due to expletives, but here’s a sample:
— Team AnAngel MCET (@PinkCakeMaster) March 12, 2015
Bye #rodnerfigueroa . There goes your television career. If I was your producer, I’d fire you twice !
— Gil Rodriguez (@MiamiPR) March 12, 2015