Veteran journalist Geraldo Rivera reentered the national spotlight with a Twitter rant against what he saw as a witch hunt against men in the “flirty” news business in taking them down with sexual harassment accusations. On the day that former “Today” show host Matt Lauer got fired after allegations of gross misconduct and predatory behavior from numerous women, the 74-year-old Rivera caused a lot of eyebrows to raise with his defense of Lauer and attacks on accusers.
Rivera’s string of angry tweets got him a massive amount of negative attention, including speculation that he was trying to excuse possible misdeeds of his own. Particularly suspect was Rivera’s insistence on a 5-year statute of limitations on punishing someone for incidents of sexual harassment. The next day, Thursday, Rivera apologized after Fox News called his tweets “troubling.”
But in the midst of all this, singer-songwriter Bette Midler called out Rivera after a 26-year-old video interview resurfaced of her accusing him of sexually assaulting her in the 1970s. In the interview, Midler tells Barbara Walters that Rivera and his producer forced her to inhale recreational drugs before groping her in her hotel room.
Now on Friday, Rivera has apologized to Midler on Twitter but did not fully corroborate her assault story.
“Although I recall the time @BetteMidler has alluded to much differently than she, that does not change the fact that she has a right to speak out & demand an apology from me, for in the very least, publically [sic] embarrassing her all those years ago. Bette, I apologize,” he tweeted.
Shortly before that tweet, he wrote, “27 years ago I wrote a tawdry book depicting consensual events in 1973-45 years ago-I’ve deeply regretted its distasteful & disrespectful tone & have refrained from speaking about it-I’m embarrassed & profoundly sorry to those mentioned-I have & again apologize to anyone offended.”
But the Washington Times pointed out on Friday that Rivera actually did address that particular incident with Midler in the hotel room in his tell-all book, “Exposing Myself.” And although Rivera mentions groping her in the book, he did not mention drugging her and suggested in the tone of the book that what he did was consensual.
What do you think of this? In related news, Kathie Lee Giffords is getting a lot of hate for her own response to Matt Lauer’s scandal.