Geraldo Rivera has apologized for appearing to defend his friend Matt Lauer after he was fired from Today show over sexual misconduct allegations.
Today show anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb announced on Wednesday (29Nov17) that Lauer had been dismissed by NBC bosses after they received a complaint from a colleague who allegedly detailed “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer“.
His friend Rivera, who works on the Fox News channel, took to Twitter to rant about sexual harassment allegations, calling Lauer a “great guy” and “a real gentleman” before courting controversy by writing, “News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w (with) predation.”
Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me. News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation. What about #GarrisonKeillor?
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) November 29, 2017
After coming under fire for his comments, Rivera apologized for his tweets, by writing, “I didn’t sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden-Harassers are deviants who deserve what is coming to them-Often victims are too frightened to come forward in a timely fashion-I humbly apologize.”
Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear
I didn't sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem
long hidden-Harassers are deviants who deserve what is coming
to them-Often victims are too frightened to come
forward in a timely fashion-I humbly apologize
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) November 30, 2017
Before he apologized, Fox News officials issued a statement to the New York Daily News saying they were “troubled” by his tweets, which don’t reflect their views.
A video also resurfaced of Bette Midler telling Barbara Walters in 1991 that Rivera groped her in the ’70s. After Walters asked Midler for comment on Rivera’s claims they had an affair in his autobiography, Midler recalled how he and his producer allegedly pushed her into her bathroom, forced her to inhale drugs and groped her.
WATCH: @BetteMidler to Barbara Walters in an interview over 20 years ago. She says @GeraldoRivera and his producer shoved her into her bathroom, stuck poppers under her nose, and proceeded to grope her. pic.twitter.com/Ax1MJwrP69
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 29, 2017
“Groped me. I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera,” she continued. “His behavior was unseemly… If I’d known he would wind up a slimy talk show host I would have never even let him in the room. You have no way of knowing at the time that these things are going to come back to haunt you.”
Following news of Lauer’s firing, three anonymous women accused him of sexual harassment to Variety, while The New York Times reported NBC bosses have since received two new complaints about him.