Raven-Symoné has caused a stir once again with her comments about race. After Univision host Rodner Figueroa was fired last week for making an on-air joke comparing Michelle Obama to an ape from Planet of the Apes, the That's So Raven star appeared to come to his defense during a visit to The View.
After Whoopi Goldberg brought up the firing, her co-host Rosie Perez talked about how racism lives in the Latino community, despite many Latinos having African roots. “There is a secret in the Latin community, specifically the Caribbean, South American, Central American Latin community. They are very racist. They never want to be in the same group as Black people. And he did say Michelle Obama looked like a cast member of the Planet of the Apes,” Perez pointed out.
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That's when Symoné chimed in. “But was he saying it racist-like? Because he said he voted for her later. And I don’t think he was saying it racist,” she said. “Oh, I’m not racist. I have Black friends,” Perez replied mockingly.
“Not Michelle Obama. Michelle, don’t fire me from this right now, but some people do look like animals,” Symoné joked. “So can I be mad if someone called me Toucan Sam?”
Soon after his firing, Figueroa issued an apology to the First Lady and said that he’s not racist. “I want to clarify that I’m not racist and in no way was my comment directed at you, but rather the work of the [makeup] artist, which left much to be desired,” he said in an open letter to Obama. “I’ve been an activist for causes in favor of minorities, as I have been discriminated against,” Figueroa wrote, adding that one of his parents is Black and noting that he is also gay.
Many in social media have pointed out that it wasn't his comparison of Mrs. Obama to an animal that raised a red flag, but that he compared her to a primate — a centuries-old racist trope.
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(Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)