Yesha Callahan

Univision Anchor Apologizes for Michelle Obama ‘Ape’ Comment

The 8th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards - Univision Radio Remotes - Day 3

Fired Univision host Rodner Figueroa is now backpeddling on the Planet of the Apes comment he made about Michelle Obama. Figueroa penned an open letter to the first lady stating that he was only fired because a complaint came from someone in her office and that he’s not racist.

The lengthy letter stated that as one of the first open gay hosts on Latin television and being half black himself, he would never make a racist comment.

Rodner wrote (and was translated from Spanish):

“Respected First Lady Michelle Obama,

I offer my sincere apologies for a comment he made about the characterization that made you with a makeup artist in the entertainment program Univision’s “El Gordo y la Flaca” yesterday, and was misinterpreted.

I want to clarify that I am not racist in any way my comment was directed towards you, but towards the characterization of the artist, who left much to be desired. The entire video clip in context proves it.

I feel embarrassed, I apologize, because there is no excuse for a professional like me to do this type of comments that can be interpreted as offensive and racist in such volatile times in our country. I take responsibility for this lack of judgment on my part, but I can not accept being called a racist by anyone and be dismissed as such, and publicly humiliated by Univision after 17 years in this business.

I come from a family bi-racial America, with family, like my father, Afro-Latin race. I am the first openly gay Hispanic TV presenter and I’ve been an activist for causes in favor of minorities, as I have been discriminated against. I voted openly twice by her husband, Barack Obama, because I consider it a great man who respects minorities, like me, in this country.

I worked on two programs where Univision commented the look of many celebrities, including royalty and first Latin ladies and I have never offended anyone by their skin color, sexual orientation or nationality. I am a decent person, but a human being after all and make mistakes like this. And so unpleasant and offline that has been interpreted my comment did not deserve to be called a racist, and I have to defend myself out of respect and love for my family, my father, my fans and my community.

I was verbally notified that a complaint was dismissed from his office, and leaking information from Univision executives, I was sentenced on social networks trying to destroy my career unfairly, without even having officially notified by writing without an investigation that would enable clarify the situation.

Again, I offer a humble apology for the misunderstanding and take responsibility.

Very respectfully, Rodner Figueroa “

What’s that saying, “too little, too late”?

Yup, pretty much.

  1. March 13, 2015 - Reply

    How poignant this article runs the same day as the univision anchor’s apology in which he includes his biracial makeup….I swear the idiocy burns

  2. March 13, 2015 - Reply

    Adios… tenemos no creo!!
    Goodbye… we don’t believe you!!

  3. March 13, 2015 - Reply

    It irritates the hell out of me when a Latin person drops the “I’m not a racist, I have black relatives,” card. The mere fact they feel a need to mention that crap lets me know that their mind was on race in the first place. Instead of arguing he is not racist, dude just needs to apologize for a really ugly remark and move on.

    • March 13, 2015 - Reply


      Those comments are often paired with ‘my family ranges from the bluest black to the whitest white’ which ALWAYS sounds suspect to me. How many Black people outside the Sudan have blue-black skin? Or do these rainbow Latinos simply regard anything darker than a paper bag as blue-black.

  4. March 13, 2015 - Reply

    Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Oh wait, I had one more thing to add: blah blah blah blah blah. (Somebody wants their job back). Michelle, put your hand up and say “talk to the hand”, I’,m busy being First Lady and shut the door on his lying face.

  5. March 13, 2015 - Reply

    I hate when any person states “I’m not a racist.” Don’t make racist comments then. He had to know about racism in the US. If not, learn. Comparing blacks to a monkey will usually get your butt kicked in the streets, but when you’re in the public eye, you will be fired, humiliated and be unemployable. You’re not the first person to blame your ignorance and back pedal. You won’t be the last.

  6. March 13, 2015 - Reply

    People around the world must be fixated on Black people because making stupid, racist comments and then backpedaling seems to be the American Way.

    Is it me, or do I not hear of any other group being so attacked.

    • March 13, 2015 - Reply


      Like the old saying goes, they claim to hate us, but they want to be like us.

  7. March 14, 2015 - Reply

    This just rankles the hell out of me don’t apologize when you get caught. What is in a person’s heart comes out the mouth(Speech) He said what was in his heart, he is a racist from a Latin American country that considers people with melanin in their skin as less than. He demonstrated who he was by his hideous and disrespectful hate speech. I wish they wouldn’t apologize just because they got caught.

    • March 14, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      It is really revolting for him to say those disrespectful words. He knew what he was doing. His comments were premeditated and his words were crass plus inappropriate. We know that racism is global in many nations including in Latin America. The good news is that black people in numerous Latin American nations are in organizations fighting back against racism and discrimination. We, as black Americans, are fighting back too. The journey won’t be easy, but we will keep on telling the truth and keep on standing as black people.

      Have a Great Weekend Sister Mary Burrell.

      • March 14, 2015 - Reply

        @truthseeker2436577: You have a great weekend also

        • March 14, 2015 - Reply

          @Mary Burrell

          Thank you.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: