Sacked Univision talk show host Rodner Figueroa has written a public letter of apology addressed to First Lady Michelle Obama. He explained that his “Planet of the Apes” comment was aimed at how makeup artist Paolo Ballesteros did his impression of Mrs Obama.
According to him, the comment was not directed towards the First Lady herself.
I am not racist
“I want to clarify that I’m not racist and in no way was my comment directed at you,” Figueroa wrote in his letter, as translated by the Huffington Post.
He explained that he was from a bi-racial family and had experienced being discriminated in the past. He was, in fact, the first openly gay Hispanic TV presenter.
Figueroa even mentioned he voted for President Barack Obama twice.
In a separate report from TMZ, Figueroa’s representative said that nobody from Univision reacted badly when he made the comment. However, hours later, they got a call from an executive saying representatives of Michelle Obama called the network to complain.
In his letter, Figueroa wrote that his “Planet of the Apes” comment was not aimed at the First Lady, “but rather the work of the [make up] artist, which left much to be desired.”
He was referring to Paolo Ballesteros, a Filipino artist known for his creative transformations on his Instagram account.
Ballesteros, 32, currently works as a segment host for noontime show, “Eat Bulaga,” one of the longest-running TV shows in the Philippines. He has been hosting the show since 2001.
He became a household name when he started dressing up as a woman during certain segments of “Eat Bulaga,” with audiences often joking how his face in makeup looks better than that of a woman’s.
He rose to international fame when he began using Instagram to showcase his “makeup transformation” skills, painting his face to look like celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Mariah Carey.