It turns out the Internet found more unseemly secrets in Geraldo Rivera’s past than he ever found in Al Capone’s vault, and now Bette Midler wants an apology.
Yesterday after Matt Lauer’s firing, the 74-year-old mustachioed Fox News personality took to Twitter to air his retrograde thoughts on sexual harassment in the news business. He claimed that news used to be a “flirty biz,” and then outlined his own personal list of criteria about whether or not someone’s allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct should be taken seriously or not. It made about as much sense as that time Rivera stated his belief that Trayvon Martin’s hoodie was part of the reason he was killed. So, none.
In response, a 1991 video of Bette Midler claiming that Rivera once drugged and assaulted her surfaced.
When prodded about the events by Barbara Walters, Midler seems to have a different remembrance of the story. Though, she’s hesitant at first to share it.
She begins to tell the story before pausing. “No, I better not,” she says. “I’m going to get in trouble.” That moment, in and of itself, is a chilling reminder that even women as notoriously strong willed as Midler fear they might be the ones to get in trouble for speaking out about the wrong doings of powerful men. Walters, however, assures her its ok to go forward. Mind you, at the time, Rivera was a correspondent for the Walters-hosted 20/20, so it seems Walters wasn’t in the business in shielding the wrongdoings of her male co-workers necessarily.
“Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me, in the ‘70s, in the early ‘70s,” says. “This was when he was very hot. He and his producer left the crew in the other room, they pushed me into my bathroom, they pushed two poppers under my nose, and proceeded to grope me…I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly.” In his unfortunately named memoir Exposing Myself, Rivera acknowledged the incident, saying, “I put my hands on her breasts,” and called the experience “thrilling.”
Today happens to be Midler’s birthdays, and, as it turns out, she’s glad the video has resurfaced.
“I feel like this video was a gift from the universe to me,” she wrote. “Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this.”
After Rivera posted his original tweets, Fox News was quick to comment that they “do not reflect the views of Fox News or its management.” Rivera ended up apologizing on Twitter later, but apparently he has apologizing of a more personal nature to do as well.
Of course, it’s curious that Rivera didn’t face repercussions at the time of Midler’s allegations considering they were made to one of his colleagues and aired on the network that employed him at the time.