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Longtime TODAY anchor Matt Lauer was fired from NBC this morning following allegations of sexual misconduct. Since the initial report surfaced, more than 10 women have come forward to offer their accounts of his alleged inappropriate behavior.
Despite these women’s detailed and troubling statements, Lauer has found an ally in Geraldo Rivera. The FOX News pundit, whose notoriously bad takes on social issues earned him his own diss track on Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. album, came to the defense of Lauer on Twitter, as the New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff points out.
“Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me,” wrote Rivera. “News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation.”
Yes, Rivera really just tried to compare sexual harassment and courtship and downplay uninvited, inappropriate behavior because news is naturally “a flirty business.” Uhh, exactly what kind of news team are you running, Geraldo?
Lauer’s firing prompted Rivera to continue to plumb the depths of his moral core, or whatever is left of it. On Twitter, he suggested sexual harassment “should be confined to situations where superior imposes himself on subordinate who feels unable to complain because of power of perp or feared consequences to victim’s employment.” By this logic, only people in subordinate positions can be considered victims, which, yeah, is totally not how harassment works.
Again insensitive to victims and their grieving process, Rivera also suggested sexual harassment allegations must be made within a specific time frame.
Update: In a statement, Fox News said, “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.” Meanwhile, video has surfaced of Bette Midler detailing an incident in which Rivera drugged and groped her without her consent.
Find all of Rivera’s reprehensible tweets from today. (There’s sure to be more, ’cause like, it’s Rivera.)
Update: Despite’s Twitter expanded character limit, Rivera said he was unable to “sufficiently explain that [sexual harassment] is a horrendous problem long hidden.”