Fox News host Geraldo Rivera had a minor meltdown on Wednesday defending former NBC News host Matt Lauer, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women. “News is a flirty business,” Rivera wrote on Twitter. “It seems like [the] current epidemic of sex harassment allegations may be criminalizing courtship and conflating it [with] predation.”
Rivera’s swift of defense Lauer’s alleged behavior sparked some questions—namely: What’s with the sudden concern? A 1991 resurfaced interview between Barbara Walters and Bette Midler seems to suggest Rivera has an extremely predatory definition of flirting. One might even call Rivera’s version of flirting sexual assault.
Some backstory: in 1991, Rivera released a book aptly entitled Exposing Myself. The book is rife with Rivera’s alleged sexual encounters, one of which involves a story about Midler. “We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point I put my hands on her breasts,” he wrote, proclaiming it was a “thrilling” moment.
Midler’s version of events differs dramatically from Rivera’s. She explained to Walters that Rivera shoved her into a bathroom with a producer, forced poppers under her nose, and groped her:
Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me in the early 70s. This was when he was very, sort of, hot. He and his producer left the crew in the other room and 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.
Here’s a clip of Midler’s account:
Rivera has yet to comment on the resurfaced video, strange given how quickly he rushed to defend Lauer.