Univision Fires Rodner Figueroa: See Picture That Prompted Racist Comment That Got Host Booted Off Network

Rodner Figueroa
Rodner Figueroa was fired from Univision over certain comments deemed "racist" targeting Michelle Obama. Click here to see the picture that started the whole thing! Getty

Rodner Figueroa has been fired from Univision. The “Sal y Pimienta” host, who is the recipient of a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Daytime Talent in Spanish, took it too far with a racist comment targeted to First Lady Michelle Obama. The Venezuelan-host said that Mrs. Obama’s transformation is “impressive” as “she looked like she was part of the cast from ‘Planet of the Apes.’” Almost immediately after the comments, it was as if Figueroa didn’t exist for the major network anymore. His biography was deleted from the Univision "talent" section and his link redirects to the general "talent" page.

Today, Figueroa finally broke his silence, asking Michelle Obama for forgiveness in an open letter. He doesn't want to be deemed a racist and feels Univision is humiliating him after the turn of events. “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,’” the letter read. “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.”

During Figueroa’s segment in “El Gordo y la Flaca” they were talking about make-up artist Paolo Ballesteros, who transforms into celebrities using make-up. Four months ago, he transformed into First Lady Michelle Obama, and although the transformation Rodner was referring to when he said it was “impressive” was the make-up artist’s, he did continue to say “Look, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she was part of the cast from ‘Planet of the Apes,’ the movie,” which caused some laughter on set. “No, but it’s true!,” Figueroa added.

So although he was talking about Ballestero’s work at first, he did mention the First Lady directly. Meanwhile, Ballesteros, 32, a Filipino actor, model and makeup artist, has become popular on social media for his amazing make-ups transforming himself in celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Cate Blanchett, Dakota Johnson, Julianne Moore, Cher, Taylor Swift and more. Check out the picture of his transformation as Mrs. O below.

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Maria G. Valdez

Maria was born and raised in Dominican Republic, where she began her career in journalism covering human interest stories, entertainment, beauty and wellness for a national magazine. She moved to New York City to study Musical Theatre, but went back to journalism after graduating in an attempt of becoming the Latina Carrie Bradshaw. She has an unhealthy obsession with JLo and claims to be Sofia Vergara’s long-lost daughter, and has tried a crazy amount of treatments to keep looking young. She became a Zumba instructor for fun.