Latin television network Univision has fired fashion commentator Rodner Figueroa after he compared U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama to the humanoid apes of Planet of the Apes on the air.
This story has been updated. Please see below.
The Latin Times reported that Figueroa — host of the programs Sal y Pimienta and El Gordo y La Flaca — was discussing the work of makeup illusionist Paolo Ballesteros, who uses makeup to transform himself into female celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and First Lady Obama.
According to E! Online, Figueroa said on Wednesday’s edition of El Gordo y La Flaca, “Mind you, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she’s part of the cast of Planet of the Apes, the film.”
Univision fired the Caracas, Venezuela-born host within hours and released a statement blasting his remarks.
“Yesterday during our entertainment program El Gordo y La Flaca, Rodner Figueroa made comments regarding First Lady Michelle Obama that were completely reprehensible and in no way reflect Univision’s values or views. As a result, Mr. Figueroa was immediately terminated,” the network said.
Update, 6:22 p.m. EST: TMZ reported that, according to Figueroa’s representatives, they were told by a Univision executive that Obama’s office complained about the remark, leading to his firing.
Figueroa also reportedly wrote a letter to her denying any racist intent, as he is both biracial and gay.
“I’ve been an activist for causes in favor of minorities, as I have been discriminated against,” he allegedly wrote, adding, “I voted openly twice for your husband, Barack Obama.”
Watch the video, embedded below: