New York-based radio host fired after comparing Black women’s skin to toaster settings

A radio host in New York was fired on Wednesday after he compared his preferred toaster settings to the skin tones of Black women including tennis star Serena Williams, actress Halle Berry and CBS anchor Gayle King. 

“The Morning Bull Show” host Rob Lederman with Buffalo’s 97 Rock radio station was “swiftly terminated” by broadcasting company Cumulus Media. 

“Cumulus Media operates from a clearly-defined set of programming principles and there is no question that Rob Lederman’s comments made on The Morning Bull Show are in direct violation of those principles,” the company statement read. “We swiftly terminated him and suspended the remainder of the show’s on-air talent. We apologize, and deeply regret the incident.”

The suspended on-air hosts who also participated in the conversation were Chris Klein and Rich “Bull” Gaenzler, according to local outlet WKBW.

The controversial broadcast involved Lederman comparing his toaster settings to the skin tone shades of high-profile Black women. 

“We have ours [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.”

The clip went viral after it was shared by ESPN reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques on Twitter. 

Several organizations, including Buffalo’s Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and the Ride for Roswell, pulled their advertising from the station amid the fallout.

Lederman was also terminated from his role as the Buffalo Sabres’ and Buffalo Bandits’ arena host.

Lederman issued an apology on Twitter after his ouster, saying he was “horrified” listening back to his comments.

“I want to sincerely apologize for hurting people with my foolish and ignorant comments yesterday,” he said. “I 100% understand why people are justifiably angry. I made a mistake and it’s hard to look myself in the mirror, but I want to acknowledge it. I apologize from the deepest depths of who I am.”

The former host added that he had reached out to “the NAACP, my friends in the clergy from the African-American community, as well as the Mayor’s office, to seek their guidance and teaching.”

“I ask for your forgiveness and I pledge to learn, to do better and increase my sensitivity and understanding,” he wrote. “I want this to be the start of a learning process so we as a community can become better.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown (D), who is Black, 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 tweeted. 

Tags Buffalo Gayle King New York Racism Radio host

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