Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera says he remembers his encounter with Bette Midler “differently” than she does – Broadway’s Hello Dolly star tweeted yesterday that he groped her back in the 1970s – but is apologizing for “in the very least,” embarrassing her “all those years ago.”
In two tweets today, Rivera calls his own 1991 memoir Exposing Myself a “tawdry book” that he now regrets, and that he’s “embarrassed and profoundly sorry” to all those mentioned in his kiss & tell tome.
Regarding Midler specifically, Rivera tweeted, “Although I recall the time @BetteMidler has alluded to much differently than she, that does not change the fact that she has a right to speak out & demand an apology from me, for in the very least, publically [sic] embarrassing her all those years ago. Bette, I apologize.”
The encounter was revisited by Midler in a tweet yesterday, when she shared a 1991 clip of an interview with Barbara Walters in which Midler recalled Rivera and an unnamed producer groping her in the 1970s.
In the ’91 clip, Midler calls Rivera a “slimy talk show host” and says, “This was when [Rivera] 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. Groped me. I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was — he was unseemly.”
The video resurfaced on the internet this week following Rivera’s controversial reaction to Matt Lauer’s firing: “News is a flirty business & it seems like [the] current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it [with] predation.”
Rivera subsequently apologized for the Lauer comments, drawing a tweet from Midler that included the ’91 clip and said, in part, “Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this.” Midler ended her message with #MeToo.
Today’s tweet from Rivera stops far short of agreeing with Midler’s account. In the first tweet, he writes, “27 years ago I wrote a tawdry book depicting consensual events in 1973 – 45 years ago – I’ve deeply regretting its distasteful & disrespectful tone & have refrained from speaking about it-I’m embarrassed & profoundly sorry to those mentioned-I have & again apologize to anyone offended”.
He then goes on, in the second tweet, to take the Al Franken “I remember it differently” tack that seems to be cropping up in apologizes an awful lot these days. Ending the second tweet with “Bette, I apologize,” Rivera doesn’t make it quite clear what he’s sorry for aside from the “distasteful” tone of the book that might have embarrassed Midler.