A New York radio host has been fired after using Black celebrities' skin tones to describe how he likes his toast.
Cumulus Media, the owner of 97 Rock in Buffalo, said it “swiftly terminated” Rob Lederman after his comments violated the company's programming principles.
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Two other on-air hosts were also suspended.
A clip from the 'Morning Bull Podcast' was widely circulated online, in which Lederman made references to Serena Williams, Halle Berry and Gayle King.
"We have (our toaster settings) at the attractiveness of women that I find to be attractive, so I will never go to a Serena Williams level," Lederman said as his co-hosts laughed.
"But I am very comfortable at a Halle Berry level. I need a little bit of 'mulatto' still coming through.
"Gayle King is not even on my toaster level."
Lederman has since apologised for his comments, saying he was horrified when he listened to himself and vowed to learn from the furore.
“I 100% understand why people are justifiably angry,” Lederman wrote in a statement on Twitter.
“I made a mistake and it's hard to look myself in the mirror, but I want to acknowledge it.”
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Several advertisers have responded by pulling their ads from the show.
“Please know my comments were ignorant, but not meant to be hurtful, but I know I, as well as many others, need to learn from this,” wrote Lederman, who said he has reached out to Black civil rights and religious leaders and Mayor Byron Brown's office for guidance.
The mayor was one of several elected officials to publicly condemn the exchange.
“The racist commentary made on ‘The Morning Bull’ show on 97 Rock is outrageous and intolerable," Brown said in a statement.
Berry also labelled the comments "disgusting".
"It’s ridiculous this type of nonsense is still being broadcasted across airwaves," she tweeted on Friday.
"ALL Black women are beautiful and worthy, Rob Lederman."
Disgusting. It’s ridiculous this type of nonsense is still being broadcasted across airwaves. ALL Black women are beautiful and worthy, Rob Lederman. GTFOH. https://t.co/9qMrLysjy2
— Halle Berry (@halleberry) March 26, 2021
ESPN reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques said Lederman's remarks fuel the "undeserved stigma attached to dark skin."
"For Rob to take something undesirable like burnt toast and compare it to the skin colour of any person is reprehensible," he said.
with Associated Press
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