Raven-Symoné: Not Racist to Compare Michelle Obama to Ape; ‘Some People Look Like Animals’

AP Photo/Matt Sayles
AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Empire actress Raven-Symoné is under fire for defending Univision host Rodner Figueroa, who was fired by the network last week for saying on air he thought First Lady Michelle Obama looked like an “ape.”

Symoné appeared on Monday’s episode of The View, where a heated discussion about Figueroa’s comments was led by co-host Rosie Perez.

“A lot of Latin people recognize the fact that we do have African blood in us. A lot of them do not want to recognize that fact, and that’s where this stems from,” said Perez.

“There is a secret in the Latin community, specifically the Caribbean, South American, Central American, Latin community, that they are very racist,” she added. “They never want to be in the same group as black people. And it’s sad. It’s very, very sad. And he did say Michelle Obama looks like a cast member of the Planet of the Apes.”

Symoné then entered the discussion, by asking, “Was he saying it racist-like?”

She continued:

Because, he said that he voted for her later and I don’t think he was saying it racist… Michelle, don’t fire me from this right now, but some people look like animals. Is that rude? I look like a bird! So can I be mad if somebody calls me Toucan Sam?

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg then added: “I’d be mad if someone called you Toucan Sam. C’mon!”

Figueroa has been dismissed from his position at Univision and maintains that he did not intend his comments to be interpreted in a racial context.

On El Gordo Y La Flaca last week, he stated: “Mind you, you know that Michelle Obama looks like she’s part of the cast of Planet of the Apes, the film.”

Figueroa now says the comment was made as a dig at a make-up artist recently featured on his show, who transformed himself into the First Lady and other celebrities through make-up.

Symoné has since taken to Twitter to explain her comments on The View:


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.