It seems an old Barbara Walters interview with Bette Midler may be coming back to haunt Geraldo Rivera. Rivera is already taking a lot of heat after posting a series of tweets yesterday in defense of fired and disgraced NBC anchor Matt Lauer.
Lauer was fired amid a series of wide-ranging allegations that Lauer sexually harassed his co-workers including exposing himself to a woman. Riveria’s tweets appeared to excuse Lauer’s predatory and downright creepy behavior revealed in a series of video clips, claiming Lauer is a “great guy” and “news is a flirty business.”
“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?”
On Wednesday evening, Fox News responded to Rivera’s messages of defense for Lauer disavowing Rivera’s support whether implied or otherwise, stating via a spokesperson for the network –
“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.”
Now in the wake of a firestorm of his own making, Rivera is finding himself as the accused after a clip of a 1991 interview Barbara Walters did with Bette Midler resurfaced, circulating the interwebs.
During the interview, Walters asked for Midler’s reaction to Rivera’s claim in his 1991 autobiography called Exposing Myself in which he claimed he and Midler had an “affair.” The now 74-year-old Rivera wrote of an encounter with Midler a short line about the encounter stating, “We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point, I put my hands on her breasts.” An excerpt appeared in a review done by the Washington Post at the time.
Middler herself had a bit more information about what happened that was revealed in her interview with Walters and bit of a different take on what happened, saying the meeting was “not funny,” and that she may get in “trouble” for the story of what happened when they met, but tells it anyway.
She goes on to recall that first meeting with Rivera in the early 1970s stating that while shooting an interview with Rivera, he and his producer “pushed” her into a bathroom, then “broke two poppers and pushed them under [her] nose,” and groped her. The word “poppers” is slang for the recreational drug alkyl nitrite.
Geraldo Rivera drugged and sexually assaulted Bette Midler, she claims. Will his career be over by Thursday morning after this video goes viral? pic.twitter.com/ugOsCYVb3C
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) 30 November 2017
Walters then appears to question Midler’s account of the events, looking a bit shocked at the revelation….”Grope…?” she questions. Midler went on to clarify – “Groped me. I did not offer myself upon the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was… he was unseemly.”
Midler ends the interview by telling Walters had she known Rivera was going to become a “slimy talk show host,” she “wouldn’t have let him in the room.”
Now Rivera is feeling the heat as many ask a variety of hard questions about what Rivera constitutes as “sexual harassment”