Bette Midler has claimed that Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera and an unnamed producer once groped her after shoving her in a bathroom and forcing poppers into her nose.
“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,” Midler told Barbara Walters in a 1991 interview that resurfaced this week. Poppers refer to packets of amyl nitrite, a chemical that is often inhaled recreationally to relax muscles.
“Grope me,” the Tony-winning actress and singer repeated of the encounter, which she said happened in the early ’70s. “I did not offer myself on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly.”
The footage was surfaced by freelance journalist Yashar Ali and has since gone viral on Twitter.
The Fox News contributor and television icon took heat yesterday after a tweet defending Matt Lauer following the NBC star’s ouster for accusations of sexual misconduct.
Rivera, who called news a “flirty business,” later apologized for his remarks in a series of lengthy tweets.
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
Fox News distanced itself from Rivera’s tweet last night.
“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,” a network rep said in a statement yesterday.
Reps for Rivera and Midler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.