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Radio host fired after comparing skin tones of Black women to toast

 

A radio host in Buffalo, New York, was fired after he compared Black women’s skin tones to toasted bread, CBS affiliate WIVB reported. Cumulus Media, the owner of 97 Rock, announced Wednesday that “Morning Bull” radio host Rob Lederman was let go and his other co-hosts, Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein, were suspended after they engaged in a conversation rating Black women according to their skin tone.

“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,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to WIVB. “We swiftly terminated him and suspended the remainder of the show’s on-air talent. We apologize, and deeply regret the incident.”

On the show, Lederman said he “would never go with Serena Williams level, but I’m very comfortable at a Halle Berry level.”

“I need a little bit of mulatto still coming through,” he said. In the audio, Brown also mentions “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King by name.

“Morning Bull” remained off the air Thursday morning. The station’s Twitter cover photo showed Lederman and Gaenzler as of Thursday afternoon.

While the “Morning Bull” episode was no longer available, ESPN’s Buffalo Bulls reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques shared a 45-second clip of the show online.  In response to a Twitter user, Louis-Jacques explained the severity of Lederman’s comments.

“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,” he tweeted.

The remarks caught the attention of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, among others, in which he condemned the comments, calling them “outrageous and intolerable. There is no place in our society for these statements or beliefs,” he said.

Various advertising partners of the show pulled their ads from the show due to the remarks. Pegula Sports & Entertainment also severed ties with one of the show’s hosts, who served as an in-arena host for the Buffalo Sabres and Bandits.

Lederman told The Buffalo News that he was “horrified” by his words after he listened to a recording.

“I could easily see how someone could be offended by that,” he told the news outlet. “I get that.”


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