Univision Host Rodner Figueroa Fired Over Racist 'Planet Of The Apes' Comment Towards Michelle Obama (UPDATED)

03/12/2015 10:28 am ET | Updated Aug 06, 2015
  • Mandy Fridmann The Huffington Post

Univision host Rodner Figueroa was fired Wednesday after comparing first lady Michelle Obama's appearance to that of someone from the cast of the "Planet of the Apes."

The Emmy-winning host was dismissed over the racist remark said during his live segment on the entertainment news show "El Gordo Y La Flaca," HuffPost Voces first reported. Univision confirmed the news via e-mail earlier today.

Figueroa's comment came while talking about make-up artist Paolo Ballesteros' viral undertaking of transforming himself into female celebrities. The fashionista, known for his critical "Fashion Police"-style remarks, analyzed Ballesteros' transformation for Michelle Obama with an original photo of the first lady beside it.

"Mind you, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she's part of the cast of 'Planet of the Apes,' the film," Figueroa said.

Host Raúl de Molina attempted to counter the comment saying he thought Obama was very attractive. The show aired live on the East Coast and was edited for the West Coast.

In addition to his appearances in "El Gordo Y La Flaca," Figueroa co-hosted the evening gossip show "Sal Y Pimienta." By Wednesday night, several sources informed HuffPost Voces of Figueroa's dismissal from Univision and the network had already taken down photos of the host from the shows' web pages.

rodner figueroa el gordo y la flaca

rodner figueroa el gordo y la flaca

Vice President of Consumer and Entertainment Public Relations Ivelisse Malave confirmed in a Thursday morning email to HuffPost Voces that Figueroa had been fired due to the remarks.

Yesterday during the entertainment show "El Gordo y La Flaca," Rodner Figueroa made comments about First Lady Michelle Obama that were completely reprehensible and in no way reflect the values or opinions of Univision. As a result, Mr. Figueroa was fired immediately.

UPDATE 3/12 6:00 p.m.: In an extensive open letter to the first lady, Figueroa offered a formal apology for what was said but explained that it had been taken out of context. He also said he was verbally notified that he was being fired because of a complaint from Michelle Obama's office and that he felt Univision had publicly humiliated him.

Watch the moment in the video above.

This post originally appeared on HuffPost Voces and was translated by Carolina Moreno. It was adapted for an English-speaking audience.

Rodner Figueroa

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