Radio Host Rob Lederman Fired over Racist Comments Involving Serena Williams

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMarch 25, 2021

Empty seats of Suzanne Lenglen court are seen as Cori Gauff of the U.S., rear, plays against Britain's Johanna Konta in the first round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

A Buffalo, New York, radio host was fired Wednesday only hours after making racist comments about Serena Williams, Halle Berry and Gayle King.

Rob Lederman of 97 Rock was let go following his comments while co-hosts Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein remain suspended by station operator Cumulus Media. Additionally, Gaenzler was fired from his role as the in-arena host for the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team, according to TMZ Sports.

Lederman compared his preferred toast to the skin tones of Williams, Berry and King. As the hosts were mentioning what levels their toasters were set to, Lederman took the conversation in an ugly direction.

"I may get into trouble for this," Lederman can be heard saying, per audio obtained by TMZ. "I have them [toaster settings] to the attractiveness of women that I find to be attractive."

He then compared the skin tones of various celebrities to how he likes his toast.

Some advertisers quickly pulled their spots from the radio station.

Roswell Park @RoswellPark

A statement from Roswell Park: https://t.co/X5ThVOmzYr

"We apologize, and deeply regret the incident," Cumulus said in a statement. "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."

Pegula Sports & Entertainment released its own statement severing ties with Gaenzler early Wednesday evening.

Pegula Sports & Entertainment @PegulaSE


Speaking to Tim O'Shei of the Buffalo News, Lederman apologized to "anybody that would be hurt" by his comments and said he hopes to learn from this.

"I never saw myself as anything close to even thinking a racist thought," Lederman said. "It's just not who I am. So when I heard that, and heard how it sounded, I was like, 'Oh, my God, that sounds terrible.' Now, can I take back those words? No. If you listen to them, were they meant to be hurtful? Absolutely not."