Following sharp criticism, Geraldo Rivera is apologizing for defending Matt Lauer with comments that appeared to minimize the problem of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.
“Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear I didn’t sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem,” Rivera said in a Tweet Wednesday night. “[L]ong 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.”
In a thread Wednesday afternoon, Rivera called Lauer a “great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me.” He also lamented that “news is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation. What about #GarrisonKeillor?”
Rivera also shared his extremely specific criteria for what should be considered sexual harassment: “Situations where superior imposes himself on subordinate who feels unable to complain because of power of perp or feared consequences to victim’s employment.”
He added that accusations of harassment “shouldn’t be used to get even w bad bosses or hated ex’s,” though he did not say if he thought that was the case with Lauer.
Rivera’s apology comes after his employer, Fox News, disavowed his comments, saying in a statement that it was “troubled,” and would be “addressing them with him.”
NBC News announced Wednesday that it had fired Lauer following a complaint of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” Since then, numerous accusations have come to light, including that he once gave a colleague a sex toy as a present, and that he exposed himself to another NBC employee.