The New York radio host was fired for his racist comments — and good riddance
On Friday, 97 Rock now-ex-host Rob Lederman compared the skin tones of Black celebrities, including Berry, Serena Williams and Gayle King, to the numbered settings on toasters. (Yes, really.) And a couple days after the clip went viral, Berry took to Twitter to slam the host.
“Disgusting,” Berry wrote. “It’s ridiculous this type of nonsense is still being broadcasted across airwaves. ALL Black women are beautiful and worthy, Rob Lederman. GTFOH.”
On Wednesday, ESPN reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques shared a clip on Twitter.
In the clip, Lederman can be heard saying “I may get into trouble for this” to his co-hosts Rich “Bull” Gaenzler and Chris Klein.
“So, what is your level?” asked one of the hosts of the other hosts’ preferred toaster settings.
“It’s probably a seven-ish — six to seven, probably seven,” one replied. And then Lederman chimed in.
“I have them to the attractiveness of women that I find to be attractive,” Lederman said, as the other hosts chuckled. “I will never go to a Serena Williams level, but I’m very comfortable at a Halle Berry level. I need a little bit of mulatto still coming through.”
“Is Gayle King not in your realm?” one host asked.
“No,” Lederman quickly responded. “Gayle King is not even on my toaster level.”
“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,” Louis-Jacques tweeted.
It didn’t take long for Lederman to get the axe.
According to USA Today, broadcasting company Cumulus Media “swiftly terminated” Lederman from the Buffalo, New York-based 97 Rock radio station.
“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,” they said in a prepared statement. “We apologize, and deeply regret the incident.”
Lederman’s co-hosts were suspended.
Per news station WKBW, Klein and Gaenzler were suspended, but it’s unclear how long they’ll remain off air.
Lederman, who was also fired from his role as he Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits’ arena host, apologized on Twitter the day after the clip went viral.
“I want to sincerely apologize for hurting people with my foolish and ignorant comments yesterday,” he wrote in the statement. “I 100 percent 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.”
Lederman continued to say that he reached out to “the NAACAP, my friends in the clergy from the African-American community, as well as the Mayor’s office, to seek their guidance and teaching.”
Even Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown commented on the racist commentary.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Brown said that “there is no place in our society for these statements or beliefs. I strongly condemn what these individuals said on the radio this morning.”
This article was originally published on