While discussing Univision host Rodner Figueroa, who was fired last week for saying Michelle Obama “looks like she’s from the cast of Planet of the Apes,” the recurring Empire star, 29, jumped to his defense. “Was he saying it racist-like?” she asked. “Because he said that he voted for her later, and I don’t think he was saying it racist.”
An incredulous Perez, 50, likened Figueroa’s claim that he voted for President Barack Obama to those who say they can’t be racist because they “have black friends.”
Added guest cohost Michelle Collins: “My thing is, I think he’s a gay guy. He is a comedian, according to him, and he is biracial himself. I have a feeling he said it without even thinking. I think he should be fired for stupidity. If you’re too stupid to realize that that’s offensive, you should not be on TV.”
Perez disagreed – vehemently. “That’s disrespect,” she said. “This is a problem in the Latin community, that we do not talk about that. We do not address it, and it is real and it was revealed by this man’s statement. And you do not disrespect the first lady of our country.”
Raven-Symoné wasn’t convinced, however. “Michelle, don’t fire me right now,” she said, “but some people look like animals. I look like a bird. Can I be mad if somebody calls me Toucan Sam?”
It’s been an all-around debate-provoking week for the actress, who also confronted changing attitudes toward racism and the N-word in America with moderator Whoopi Goldberg on Tuesday.
“We don’t look at it as racism as the way your generation did,” she said. Though she acknowledged the work of civil rights activists, she insisted people of her generation are “trying to move forward.”
“It’s the same as the word B-I-T-C-H,” said Raven-Symoné. “I love bitch.”