“Tomorrow is my birthday,” said Broadway’s Hello, Dolly! star. “I feel like this video was a gift from the universe to me. Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this.” Midler ended her message with #MeToo.
Yesterday, Rivera drew outrage when he tweeted about Lauer, “News is a flirty business & it seems like [the] current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it [with] predation.” He added that harassment allegations “shouldn’t be used to get even w bad bosses or hated ex’s.”
Rivera’s employer, Fox News, said it was “troubled” by his comments, and Rivera later apologized in a string of tweets. Among other things, he said he “didn’t sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden.”
The controversy led to the viral resurfacing of the Walters-Midler clip, in which Midler calls Rivera a “slimy talk show host” and recounts being interviewed — and groped — by Rivera in the 1970s.
“This was when [Rivera] was very, sort of, hot,” Midler tells Walters in the video. “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. Groped me. I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was — he was unseemly.”
Rivera acknowledged the encounter back in 1991, when the seriousness (or lack thereof) given to the subject of sexual harassment can be glimpsed in the title of Rivera’s memoir: Exposing Myself. In it, Rivera wrote about Midler, “We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point I put my hands on her breasts.”
Here is Midler’s tweet from earlier this afternoon, with the Walters clip: