Michelle Obama Gets Reporter Fired for Comparing Her to an Ape

CelebritiesDirt Bag

Excellent week we’ve been having here! I don’t mean to harp on all the racism that’s going around, but there’s a new and exciting piece of news that you should know about. Rodner Figueroa, a Univision presenter was fired after he made racist comments about Michelle Obama. Even though he’d voted for her husband. Twice!

TMZ reports that on a Wednesday broadcast, Figueroa made some unkind remarks about a make-up artist who transformed himself into Michelle Obama through the power of contouring and clever highlighting. When discussing the finished work, Figueroa said that it made Michelle Obama look like she was a member of The Planet of the Apes and people around him tittered (probably uncomfortably?) While no bones were made about the comment then, Figueroa says that someone from Michelle Obama’s camp contacted the network and he was given his walking papers, even though he says he’s done nothing wrong and wrote a letter to the First Lady defending himself.

From TMZ:

Figueroa wrote a letter to the First Lady — obtained by TMZ — in which he says he’s from a bi-racial family, half-black, half-Latin, and adds he’s the first openly gay Hispanic TV presenter. He says, “I’ve been an activist for causes in favor of minorities, as I have been discriminated against.”

OK, but how does that make it any better? Being part of a minority group does give you a pass in some situations (I recognize that as a gay man I sometimes get away with things that straight men wouldn’t), but you can’t compare the First Lady to an ape on national television and then act like it’s cool because you’ve also had struggles. Lots of people have struggles. That doesn’t excuse them from being held accountable for their remarks. In fact, it’s kind of insulting to conflate all minorities into one group and say “Hey, Michelle Obama, why are you coming after me when I voted for your dude?” And yet, that’s exactly what Figueroa did. And Michelle Obama didn’t have him fired, his network did that. Take it up with them.

I can’t say that Figueroa should have absolutely been fired, although he absolutely should have been disciplined, but his defense of himself is really telling. He doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. Unfortunately, there are probably going to be people who agree with him. Perhaps Rush Limbaugh will mention that if Kanye West has called the first lady that, we’d all be cool about it. [TMZ]

  • How do you feel about Jennifer Lopez’s eye makeup? I am wholly against it, but I’m more in favor of a smoky, rather than an icy eye. Is an icy eye a thing? One time I fell asleep with an ice pack on my face and I don’t know what happened but I woke up and it looked like I’d been in a really bad fight. That might be because when I say “ice pack,” I mean “package of frozen fruit.” [Lainey]
  • Somebody is lying about reality shows being a lie or something? Did we not determine this to be a thing like years ago when Amaya from The Real World and Brian Dunkleman did a special on how reality shows work? [Reality Tea]
  • Brian Dunkleman, by the way, says that “women be shoppin.” IS HE RIGHT OR IS HE RIGHT? It’s kind of sad when my useless tweets about my guinea pigs get more favorites than this kind of high-brow humor. Also, I used to have a huge crush on “The Dunk.” Don’t judge me.[Twitter]
  • Jim Parsons got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[Us]
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar is at that point in her career where she’s doing rap battles on YouTube. I would have made this its own post, complete with a discussion of how my friend Jukey used to read me the grosses Buffy slash-fiction, but last time I tried I got an email about how we don’t do rap battles anymore. I think that was when I pitched one about Mrs. Claus vs. Mary Poppins. [The Berry]
  • I wore socks today.
  • Kanye is wearing shoes stolen directly from Posh Spice’s closet now. [Us]
  • Gerri Halliwell says “maybe I’m not cool, but I’m cool with that.” Her autobiography is really good, BTW. [Twitter]
  • Bar Refaeli is engaged! [Hello]
  • Kelly Kapowski did a Reddit AMA. [Us]
  • Lena Dunham interviewed Kerry Washington for Marie Claire. Sigh. [Instagram]
  • Andy Samberg will host the Emmys. I don’t know why I’m against this, but I am. Good thing people take my opinion into account when deciding these things. [Vulture]

It’s Thursday night. Here’s one of my favorite things on the internet. jealous haters to the left. (That’s how you say it, right?)

Image via Getty

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