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In today’s episode of racists doing racist things, a disgraced radio host in Buffalo, New York, lost his job after comparing Black women’s skin complexions to burnt toast, reminiscent of the outdated, discriminatory practice of the paper bag test.
Raw Story reports that during the Morning Bull Show on Buffalo’s 97 Rock, Rob Lederman and his co-hosts discussed the varying complexions of Halle Berry, Serena Williams, and Gayle King, then rated them according to the type of toast he prefers.
“I have them to the attractiveness of women that I find to be attractive,” Lederman said, so I will never go to a Serena Williams level … but I’m very comfortable with a Halle Berry level. I need a little bit of mulatto still coming through,” Lederman said on an audio clip.
“Is Gayle King, that’s not in your realm?,” co-host Chris Klein chimed. “No Gayle King is not even on my toaster level,” Lederman replied.
Didn’t hear this live but internet keeps receipts. @97RockBuffalo morning hosts compared how they like their toast to black women’s skin tone. So just in case y’all missed it too, take a listen pic.twitter.com/6nVolu5a23
— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) March 24, 2021
Lederman was immediately fired by station owner Cumulus Media for the shocking remarks, along with Klien and co-host Rich “Bull” Gaenzler for participating in the conversation.
“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 reportedly said.
— Pegula Sports & Entertainment (@PegulaSE) March 24, 2021
Additionally, Gaenzler was subsequently relieved from his other gigs as an in-arena host for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team for his part in the offensive exchange.
Following the fallout, Lederman issued a statement of apology on Twitter, promising to work closely with Black leaders to “seek their guidance and teaching.”
“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.”
He’s also working to connect with “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.” He added, “Please know my comments were ignorant, but not meant to be hurtful.”
Right. The commitment to remain ignorant on racism and BIPOC issues in 2021 are astounding.
— Rob Lederman (@LedermanRob) March 25, 2021