This Wednesday, longtime Today show host Matt Lauer was fired from his job at NBC for "sexual misconduct." In a matter of hours, details poured out about the predatory sexual behavior Lauer had routinely engaged in while enjoying a $25 million per year position at NBC:
Lauer had a button in his office to lock in his hapless victims so "they could be alone." He liked to play "f***, marry, or kill," so he could talk about the co-hosts he wanted to sleep with. He once gifted a coworker with a sex toy and explicitly written instructions of how he would use them on her.
Basically, Lauer had behaved in the most despicable ways possible – both sexually and in his capacity as one of the stars of NBC.
As a result, he was roundly condemned across social media, and everyone was happy his reign of terror finally had come to an end.
Everyone, that is, except for Geraldo Rivera.
Alleged sexual misconduct by Geraldo Rivera resurfaces after he defends Matt Lauer: https://t.co/u4xk8XJmVf https://t.co/f0NMGdx7cr— Women in the World (@Women in the World)1512071847.0
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
A jerk's a jerk in dating. #SexHarassment should be confined to situations where superior imposes himself on subordinate who feels unable to complain because of power of perp or feared consequences to victim's employment. Shouldn't be used to get even w bad bosses or hated ex's— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) November 29, 2017
#SexHarassment allegations should require: 1-made in a timely fashion-say w/n 5 yrs. 2-some contemporaneous corroboration, like witnesses, electronic or written communications. W $ settlements in multi-millions slight chance exists some victims are motivated by more than justice— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) November 29, 2017
This issue is so red hot right now there is no room for any thought or opinion but hang em high. If News wasn’t (formerly) a flirty biz then how do we explain so many newsroom courtships that have led to happy marriages?— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) November 29, 2017
In the tweets, Rivera made several infuriating, and downright malicious proclamations.
@GeraldoRivera @MLauer Geraldo, do you think locking the door of your office and showing an unwilling participant y… https://t.co/yI01xZP5Lx— Jenna WEAR A MASK Quigley (@Jenna WEAR A MASK Quigley)1511989833.0
Rivera's tweets were a lot of bunk and other less print-friendly words, but it is important to note a few things.
- Most sexual assault survivors never come forward out of shame or fear of not being believed/retribution. Considering notable rapist Harvey Weinstein used actual spy agencies to destroy the reputations and careers of his would-be abusers, their worries are justified.
- There are already statues of limitations in most states. In fact, California only ended its statute of limitations for rape cases in 2016, after the case of Bill Cosby.
- Lauer was not just a bad boss, he was a serial predator who purposefully preyed on the women who worked for and around him since he was aware he couldn't do so elsewhere without being outed.
- Many abusers, including Lauer, are protected by systems and even companies (as in the case of NBC) which allow them to continue their predations unhindered.
Rivera may have thought he was offering another perspective to the "flirty business" of news, but he forgot a teeny-tiny detail.He had already been accused of assault by Bette Midler during an interview with Barbara Walters in 1991. Of course, the cultural climate at the time was much different, so it wasn't so much an accusation as it was a statement of unfortunate fact.
During the interview, Walters asked Midler what she thought of Rivera's claims that she and he had engaged in a "torrid sexual affair."
Geraldo Rivera Comments On Matt Lauer "News is a flirty business" And The Internet Reminds Him Of A Previous Drugg… https://t.co/5u4Tr8ejRw— TnB (@TnB)1511994797.0
Within moments, however, the recounting took a turn for the sinister, although Midler tried to play it off as just another salacious moment in her life.
Bette Midler tweets #MeToo story of assault by Geraldo Rivera from Barbara Walters interview… https://t.co/bzHdjDbvUo— Top U.S. & World News🗽 (@Top U.S. & World News🗽)1512072271.0
Midler then lays out a horrific account, which she states matter of factly and with an easy smile – (again, this was 1991, and predatory men weren't being taken to account the way they are today)."Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me, in the ’70s, the early ’70s," Midler said. "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." "Poppers," by the way, is slang for the recreational drug alkyl nitrite, which is used primarily by gay men as sex drug since it's a muscle relaxant and aphrodisiac that loosens up muscles.
Midler's story may seem a bit... so allow us to unpack the true horror of it for you.Two grown men forced an adult woman into a bathroom where they dosed her with an aphrodisiac and proceeded to grope her. She doesn't remember
Even more awful, Rivera corroborated the story, although he made it seem like a lusty and willing conquest.
I still cringe everytime I see Geraldo Rivera I wonder why @FoxNews even has him on as a commentator discussing sex… https://t.co/S2BeXogbco— Citizen Dale (@Citizen Dale)1510925576.0
People on social media have not forgotten this incident happened, and are taking Rivera to task for his actions.
i wonder why Geraldo Rivera could possibly be trying downplay sexual harassment re: Matt Lauer on twitter today https://t.co/BIry5CfA2a— Matt Binder (@Matt Binder)1511993027.0
.@FoxNews sent me the following statement in response to @GeraldoRivera'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." https://t.co/kfS5oxNgpo— Andrew Clark (@Clarky_Tweets) November 30, 2017
On Thursday, Midler tweeted that Rivera had never apologized for the incident.Rivera has yet to issue a statement, although he did apologize for his former tweets with a tweet.
The entire incident has reminded us of an ancient adage that is appropriate even in these halcyon days of technological dexterity: Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
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