Univision’s fired TV host, Rodner Figueroa, wrote an apology letter to Michelle Obama that also criticizes his former employer for humiliating him and not giving him an opportunity to defend his name.
The former host of Univision’s “Sal y Pimienta” released an apology letter addressing his comment of Michelle Obama looking “like she’s from the cast of ‘Planet of the Apes,’ the movie” on the daytime TV show “El Gordo y La Flaca”. Figueroa’s comment was during a segment that featured a side-by-side comparison of artist Paolo Ballesteros’ makeup transformation of Michelle Obama and the First Lady’s original photo. The letter personally asks Obama for forgiveness while also stating that he, who has an Afro-Latino father, is not racist and his comment was taken out of context.
The letter also tackles Figueroa’s former employer, Univision, for mishandling the situation by firing him and “humiliating” him after 17-years with the network.
This is the translated version of the apology letter posted on Latin Post.
“I offer my sincerest apologies for a comment that I made about the characterization a make-up artist made about you in the Univision entertainment program ‘El Gordo y La Flaca.
I want to make it clear that I’m not racist and my comment wasn’t directed personally to you, but to the characterization of the artist, that left a lot to be desired. The clip in full context is proof.
I feel embarrassed, 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 judgment 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.
I worked on two Univision shows where I commented about celebrity style and looks, including the Royal Family and Latin first ladies, and I have never offended anybody because of their skin color, sexual orientation or nationality. I am a decent person, but I’m a human that makes mistakes like this one. 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. And thanks to an information leak from Univision executives, I was condemned on social media, destroying my career in an unfair manner, without letting me know personally and without an investigation that would allow to clear up the situation. Again, I offer my humble forgiveness for the misinterpretation and I assume the responsibility.”