Matt Lauer doesn’t appear to have many people in his corner right now, but the disgraced former Today Show anchor has a sympathetic ear in Geraldo Rivera. The Fox New personality is one of the few people defending Matt Lauer against the sexual misconduct allegations that cost the longtime host his high-profile job on the NBC morning show.
After news of Matt Lauer’s firing was announced, Geraldo Rivera took to Twitter to fire off a series of tweets about the scandal, explaining that journalism is a “flirty business” and that sexual harassment claims should require more proof than just he said-she said.
Geraldo Rivera offered praise for Matt Lauer’s journalistic abilities, describing him as “a great guy, highly skilled and a real gentleman to my family and me.” On the heels of recent sexual harassment allegations against Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, and now, Lauer, Rivera then addressed the “epidemic” of sexual harassment claims in the news business by writing the following.
“News is a flirty business & it seems like [the] current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it [with] predation.”
The allegations against Matt Lauer seem to go beyond flirting. Variety posted a detailed report on Lauer’s alleged inappropriate behavior with female colleagues, which includes allegations of pants dropping and sexual assault.
Still, with several of his male news colleagues now out of work, Geraldo Rivera slammed the idea of an all-female morning show format, calling the idea “unacceptably retro as the other way around,” and adding, “A jerk’s a jerk in dating.”
Geraldo ended his tweet-fest with a proposal for how sexual harassment allegations should be heard: In a timely fashion, with witnesses and proof via electronic or written communications. You can see Geraldo Rivera’s tweets below.
It’s no surprise that Geraldo Rivera’s controversial tweets about Matt Lauer and sexual harassment received backlash. Many angry people took to social media to call out Rivera and his own past history of alleged questionable misconduct, most notably a scandalous incident involving Bette Midler in which she claimed he sexually assaulted her when he came to her home to do a news interview.
In a 1991 interview with Barbara Walters, Bette Midler famously alleged that in the 1970s, Geraldo Rivera and his news producer forced her into her bathroom and drugged her, then groped her without her consent when they came to her home for an interview. Midler called Rivera’s alleged behavior “unseemly.”
The Divine Miss M has yet to comment on Geraldo’s tweets, but she did issue her own tweet about Matt Lauer’s alleged behavior.
In response to Geraldo Rivera’s comments, Fox News provided the Inquisitr with the following statement.
“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.”
You can see Bette Milder talking about her experience with Geraldo Rivera in the video below.