Thursday, February 25, 2021

Fired Univision Host Rodner Figueroa Pens Open Apology Letter to Michelle Obama, Puts Blame on Network

Rodner-Figueroa-michelle-obama*Days after being fired for saying First Lady Michelle Obama “looks like she’s from the cast of ‘Planet of the Apes,’” Rodner Figueroa is making nice with an open letter as he calls out Univision for attempting “to damage my career.”

In the letter, which was obtained by TheWrap.com, Figueroa apologizes for what he said. The letter stems from Figueroa’s dismissal from the network’s entertainment news show “El Gordo y la Flaca” last week after being with Univision for 17 years. During a segment on “El Gordo y la Flaca,” Figueroa talked to co-hosts Raul De Molina and Lili Estefan about a viral video featuring a makeup artist transforming his face to look like various celebrities, including Obama.

“Well, watch out, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she’s from the cast of ‘Planet of the Apes,’ the movie,” Figueroa said.

Regarding the termination, Univision labeled Figueroa’s comments “completely reprehensible and in no way reflect Univision’s values or views.”

In his letter, Figueroa attempted to make amends while admitting that “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.”

Figueroa goes on to mention that he is “the first openly gay Hispanic TV host,” in addition to coming from “a multi-racial Hispanic family” with an Afro-Latino father.

As he wrapped up the letter, Figueroa signs off slamming Univision with claims the channel smeared him in the media without allowing him to explain himself.

“In an attempt to what I believe was a move to damage my career, Univision leaked this information to the media and I have been condemned for my comments in social networks and the media,” Figueroa wrote. “I never received an official written notice of termination or an opportunity to clear the situation and provide my side of the story.”

The following is Figueroa’s open letter of apology to Obama in its entirety:

March 12, 2015

Esteemed First Lady Michelle Obama,

I offer my sincere apology for an unfortunate comment I made about a make-up artist’s depiction of you on Univision’s show “El Gordo y La Flaca” yesterday. It was clearly in bad taste and misunderstood.

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.

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 judgment 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.

I come from a multi-racial Hispanic family, with relatives, like my own father, who are Afro-Latino. I am the first openly gay Hispanic TV host and 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. Moreover, I openly voted twice for your husband Barack Obama, because I esteem him as a great man who has done a great deal for minorities in this country.

I’ve worked on two entertainment shows at Univision where I have commented on the look of many celebrities, including royal families and First Ladies of Latin America. I’ve never critiqued anyone because of his or her skin color, sexual orientation or nationality. I am, in my humble opinion, a decent person, but at the end of the day, a human being. I’ve made my share of mistakes, but never like this. And, as distasteful and out of line as my comment could have been perceived, I don’t believe I deserve to be branded a racist. I hope you understand that I have an obligation to defend myself out of respect and love for my family, my father, my fans and my community.

I was notified verbally in a phone call by a Univision executive that, because of a complaint received from your office, my employment was being terminated. In an attempt to what I believe was a move to damage my career, Univision leaked this information to the media and I have been condemned for my comments in social networks and the media. I never received an official written notice of termination or an opportunity to clear the situation and provide my side of the story.

Again, I offer a humble and sincere apology for the misunderstanding, and assume my responsibility.

Very respectfully,

Rodner Figueroa

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Now… i know on certain days I may not “LOOK” like I’m too bright or intelligent due to lack sleep, fatigue or whatsoever, but did this joker expect me to accept this BS? Really? Man, go sit your azz down and shut up.

    • And as for his “faaaaamileh”?, 2 things…”1″ umm…..”THEY” ain’t the one he disrespected…The 1st Lady IS”!!! And 2nd….the “second”!!! “they” walk out the room?,he prolly calls those faaaaaamileh members…..the saaaaame thaaaaaang. Fk is you?, a “part time” racist!!??? GTFOH!!

  2. So, I guess because he has some Black folk in his family he gets a “slap-on-the-wrist” , all is forgiven? So professional that after 17yrs, you don’t when you’re going in the deep end of the pool? Sissy please, your slip is showing.

    • Because he’s gay he gets a second chance? Because he’s worked there for 17-years he gets a second chance?

      He should have just said he screwed up and apologized. The rest of his letter is about him and this “boy” needs to grow up.

  3. Lol y’all it was a joke dam y’all no we all done be joke befor ,why she can’t he joke because she is the first lady please give me a break, she just like the rest us.

      • OK , I thought it was a joke but I do agree with marina she is ugly Lol …thats my opinion I am glad to no that some people are not scared to say what they think, we all have different opinion.

        • @maroB… beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. There are likely some that think you look like a PIG! Opinions are like azzholes… everyone has one!

          • Well that’s your opinion ladyelle Ass…hole Lol you said it, and yes you are entitled to that as you say.

      • He wasn’t being racist to begin with.
        She looks like an ape from the face. He made no remarks of her skin color. Please pay attention to those kinds of things. People like you is what make everything even worse.

        • I suppose you think you are helping? Your statement “people like you is what is making everything worse”, is first off, grammatically incorrect, and second, a statement that cannot be considered accurate. It is not accurate because Inivision, which I would like to remind you is NOT run or owned by African Americans, fired Mr. FIGUEROA for making that statement .
          So you see, it isn’t “people like you”, it’s people like Mr. FIGUEROA, who know better, and then do it anyway. Of course there us the issue of people like you, who insist on spreading ignorance like the plague it is, and blaming that on African Americans. ….but I’ll wait for your next inevitable ignorant post before I go in on you for that.
          Waiting………

          • thank you man! some stupide people should be put in their place. fucking oblivious ‘look at me, the white girl!’ bullshit

        • Steff… I understand what you may be trying to communicate. Based on what you wrote it appears that you are trying to make an excuse for this dumb azz!

          Now perhaps you should pay attention… because you are trying to defend poor behavior! The very thing you try to defend could be used against you! Not sure of your ethnicity… but there are negative comments for ALL of them!

        • You are so right people now a days act like they are perfect,when they say worst things than that.people now try to link everything to race they need to grow up and shut up because with there ignorance they can make a hard working person loose there job. Black jk.

        • the problem with what you are saying is that black people have been systemtically called closer to and ape to justify their lack of humanity, therefore the abuse of their ppeople and genocide. theis comparison is the problem because it reinforces withe supremacy and historical white priviledge. but a white girl, or a can pass as white couldn’t understand or research shit before she opens her mouth wouldn’t she? she has her own symbolic privilidge to hols on to!

        • you look like an ape as well. like really take a good look at the picture you put! APE. but the problem is that it’s ok that you decide it’s not a big deal, your people were not killed, abused, kidnapped, enslaved, because some psycho like you by he way, decided: oh! black people look like apes, let abuse them to make money, let’s rape them for fun. shut up bitch! like really shut up.

  4. Maaaaaan, go “make that burrito” down the fkn street. Ain’t NObawdy tryin tah heeah dat shyt! Yo bytchass tostada is….duuuuuuuun, suuuuun!!! FOHWTBS!

  5. Take your medicine like a man and stop with the blame game. What a low life. Have fun looking for work on the unemployment line!

  6. You and the network r 2 blame u consign what ever written r said becuz u could had easily said I am uncomfortable with this dialogue I gaurentee u were okay with the whole situation becuz u probably thought it was funny.

  7. What a sad sorry statement to send the First Lady! If he is such a professional after 17 yrs wouldn’t your words run professionally as well??? And to say it is not the time to make comments like this about “minorities” ?! He’s digging himself even deeper….time to step down Rodner! Thanks Univision for taking him off!

  8. Lady M should keep his ass unemployed for 2 yrs or….assign this lil bytch to “ZOO” patrol, cleaning up what??, youuuuuu guessed it, the…..”MONKEY CAGES”! “BOOM”!

  9. No justification for disrespecting a woman! I saw the show and how the talk of the first lady is not right! The apologizes it’s because he lost the job, but not really because this repentant, if it were this had never expressed a lady when it comes from a woman so, every woman deserves respect no matter how looks like

  10. I don’t think he is a racist but I guess to those who walk with a chip on their shoulder… it’s another thing. I applaud Raven Simone she speaks the truth whether or not people of her race like it or not. As long as minorities ( and I am a minority and no it is not being a woman) continue to knit pick at the stupidest things and take things out of context because they see themselves as “less” or as constantly discriminated things are NEVER going to get better in this country.

    There is racism in EVERY country, I can tell you that there was quite a bit in my country and I come from a place that there is a mix of Spanish, Black and Indian races.
    Then you have people making comments here like “man go eat tacos etc. isn’t that a racist comment? NOT ALL SPANISH SPEAKING PEOPLE COME FROM MEXICO and depending where you are from you don’t eat tacos either. The guy that got fired is from Venezuela and tacos are not part of their traditional foods. And Spanish people do not speak Mexican, there is no such language!

    As for the anchor all I have to say is:
    As you stated in your letter Mr. Figueroa, you were the one that voted for Obama twice! MISTAKE! LOL

    • I got what you are saying but you just contradicted yourself. It’s okay for this dude to call the FLOTUS an ape as a ‘joke’ or take what he said ‘out of context’ but it’s ‘racist’ to say ‘man go eat tacos’??? Why can’t the same logic be applied to calling a black person an ‘ape’? Yet, as you say, when a black person say it’s racist, they have a ‘chip’ on their shoulder(???).

      I get that everything is not ‘racist’ but no matter how you want to ‘flip flop’ it in this case, to call a black person ‘an ape’ is an insult and it’s derogatory. We all know racism exists around the globe but there is no justification to insult the first lady of the united states. If somebody called a Latino/a ‘an ape’ or a ‘bean eater’ as a joke, especially, if they are the wife of a head of state, that would be acceptable because it’s a ‘joke’?

  11. ONLY FIRE? he insult the first LADY OF THE MOST IMPORTANT COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. HE SHOULD BE ” out ” of this COUNTRY.THAT WAS’T AN INSULT THAT WAS HATE AGAINST THE ALL BLACK COMMUNITY.SOME ONE LIKE THAT DO NOT DESERVE TO BE IN THE USA. OUT RODNER FIGUEROA .FOR BEEN SUCH FAG DISCRIMINATOR .PITUKI. DIPORTATION FOR RODNER FIGEROA HE IS NOT FRONT HERE.

  12. Apology DENIED. Nobody has no right to insult anybody. He disrespected our First Lady, Michelle Obama. He disrespected U.S.A. Rodner Figueroa should be banned to work on all TV and Radio stations.

  13. His apology has the word “I” in it far too many times. His apology is all about him. His apology is more disgusting than his “ape” comment.

  14. I purposely didn’t respond to the two stupid racist BYTchasses, that agreed with this muthafkah. I won’t even dignify that ugly BYTch & her punk asskissin tag team companion. 1st…the bytch posts SOMEONE “ELSE’s” PHOTO!!!, “THINKin” she would be exempt from being called “ugly” herself, as IT We are that blind/ the BS would work, & her “actions” alone!!!!, are ugly enough. So bytch know “this”…..”We ain’t sleep”, so now….”WAKE “YO” ASS UP! Ps….FK you fake photo posting ugly muthafkah youuuuuu. (Pesci!) Wink! Ps no.2….And it’s really a good look, to see “SOME” checked their asses. For letting them breathe/go without opposition?, is letting them continue. I.E….:giving YT the impression We don’t care, We are STUoid &….We are weak & “unable”!!!, to…fight back. TJBT!

  15. why do people apologize when they get caught doing or saying something stupid and think that’s going to make it OK??? You wasn’t sorry when you said it!!!! Maybe you can get a job at the Fox network! They like your kind!!!!

  16. He may be lucky & get a job on TMZ since they enjoy bashing celebrities. . NOT! I’ve never heard them make any bashful or racial comments towards presidential people (yet)????

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