Radio host Rob Lederman fired for rating Black women’s skin based on toast
'I need a little bit of mulatto still coming through,' said Lederman.
Rob Lederman, a morning radio host in Buffalo, New York, is out of a job and others have been suspended after an on-air exchange comparing the skin tones of prominent Black women to toaster settings.
In a 45-second audio clip of The Morning Bull Show on 97 Rock tweeted by EPSN reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques, Lederman is heard rating his desirability of famous Black women based on the complexion of their skin and comparing it to a numbered toaster setting.
“I may get into trouble for this,” said Lederman before making his now-viral statements during a conversation with lead host Rich “Bull” Gaenzler and co-host Chris Klein.
“I haven’t to the attractiveness of women that I tend to find to be attractive,” he said, referring to his preferred number on a so-called toaster scale of desirability. “I will never go to a Serena Williams level … but I’m very comfortable with a Halle Berry level.”
He added, “I need a little bit of mulatto still coming through.”
Klein then interjected, “Is Gayle King not your realm?” to which Lederman replied, “Gayle King is not even on my toaster level.”
Louis-Jacques, who broke the story, tweeted “There’s already an unfortunate and undeserved stigma attached to dark skin – so for Rob to take something undesirable like burnt toast and compare it to the skin color of any person is reprehensible and feeds into that stigma.”
On Wednesday, the owner of 97 Rock, Cumulus Media, announced Lederman’s termination and disciplinary action for the other employees involved. “We swiftly terminated him and suspended the remainder of the show’s on-air talent,” the company said, according to Buffalo News. “We apologize, and deeply regret the incident.”
The on-air exchange quickly went viral on Twitter with over 200,000 views and drew condemnation from the public, including advertiser Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, which announced that it had canceled its advertising with the program.
“Immediately upon learning about this exchange, Roswell Park, the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and the Ride for Roswell pulled all ads and marketing from this station,” a statement read. “The comments this morning conflict with our values and culture. We embrace actions that respect the dignity and equity of all people, and forcefully reject any and all forms of racism.”
Additionally, Gaenzler was fired from his role as the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits’ arena host.
In a statement, Pegula Sports & Entertainment said: “All organizations across the Pegula Sports & Entertainment umbrella strongly condemn racism in all forms. We are deeply disturbed by the comments made this morning by a co-host on Rich Gaenzler’s radio show. They were unacceptable, inappropriate, and there is no place for them in our community. The Sabres and Bandits therefore have made the decision to terminate him from his duties as our in-arena host.”
The Buffalo Association of Black Journalists also condemned the racist rant, tweeting “We are extremely disappointed and disgusted. Station leadership @97RockBuffalo can expect a follow up from our board.”
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