Gay TV host fired for comparing Michelle Obama to ‘Planet of the Apes’

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An openly gay Univision host has been sacked, after making racist comments about First Lady Michelle Obama.

Rodner Figueroa, who had won an Emmy for his work on the Spanish-language US network, made the offending comment during show El Gordo y la Flaca this week.

He said of the First Lady, while discussing a make-up artist:  “You guys know that Michelle Obama looks like she was from the cast of Planet of the Apes.”

When his co-hosts objected to his comments, he insisted: “No, but it’s true!”

The network has reacted swiftly to the incident, editing the comments out of further broadcasts and pulling Figueroa off the air.

A statement said: “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 host – who claims the First Lady’s office directly complained about the jibe – has said he did not intend his comments to be racist.

He said in an open letter to Michelle Obama: “I offer my sincerest apologies for a comment that I made about the characterization from a make-up artist that I 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 it was 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 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.

“I am the first presenter on Hispanic TV that is openly gay and I am an activist for causes that favour 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.”