Things are getting worse for Geraldo Rivera.
The Fox News commentator stirred controversy and raised eyebrows in a series of tweets Wednesday when he defended disgraced former NBC host Matt Lauer.
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
Rivera later issued an apology, saying he didn’t “sufficiently explain” the issue of sexual harassment.
But observers found new significance in his remarks due to an unearthed 1991 interview where singer-actress Bette Midler told journalist Barbara Walters she was groped by Rivera in the ’70s.
Walters introduced the question by referencing Rivera’s autobiography, in which he claimed to have had an affair with the singer.
Midler first laughed off the claim, saying Rivera’s “penis went to his head,” before going on to say “One thing I did remember is how I met Geraldo and that was not funny.”
She hesitated going on with her story until being pressed by Walters. Midler then continued:
“Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me in the ’70s, the early ’70s. And this was when he was very sort of hot.
“And he and his producer left the crew in the other room. They pushed me into my bathroom. They broke two poppers and pushed them under my nose and proceeded to grope me. …
“I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly. His behavior was unseemly.”
Walters tried to steer the conversation away to other topics, but Midler concluded the thought.
“I’ll tell you the truth, if I had known 20 years later he was gonna wind up as a slimy talk show host I never would have even let him in the room, you know?”
Fox News has since put out a statement addressing Rivera’s tweets:
“Geraldo’s tweets do not reflect the views of FOX News or its management. We were troubled by his comments and are addressing them with him.”
Rivera is known for his extremely outspoken personality. But this time, his penchant for the sensational may not play to his favor.
He needs to go too
— des sibyl ??♀️ (@burberryant) November 30, 2017
— @canadiangirl49 (@canadiangirl49) November 30, 2017
Ummm news should not be a”flirty business” it should be a serious business.
— FrozenSun11 (@frozensun11) November 30, 2017
Well what was she supposed to do about it? Everyone blew off behavior like that back then. Why do you think so much is just coming out now?
— Maggie (@CorgisforLove) November 30, 2017
“Well, lets go on to other things, shall we?” Barbara Walters did the same thing to Corey Feldman when he spoke out about pedophilia in Hollywood. All of the scumbags cover for each other. It’s maddening!
— Pepe J Covfefe?? (@Libs_r_demented) November 30, 2017
Barbara initially draws Bette out, but when she doesn’t like what she hears, she tries desperately to shut down the discussion. She’s visibly uncomfortable. ?
— P_A_C (@p_acrc) November 30, 2017