Following Matt Lauer’s bombshell firing Wednesday from NBC amid sexual misconduct allegations, a well-known Fox News host came to his defense.
“Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me,” Geraldo Rivera tweeted later that afternoon. “News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation.”
After receiving backlash for the tweet, Rivera went on to defend his comments.
“A jerk’s a jerk in dating. #SexHarassment 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. Shouldn’t be used to get even w bad bosses or hated ex’s,” he wrote in one before continuing, “Heard well-regarded women in media today suggesting morning shows go to an all-female format. That should be as unacceptably retro as the other way around.”
Rivera then outlined the requirements he believes sexual harassment allegations should meet before they’re taken seriously.
“#SexHarassment allegations should require: 1-made in a timely fashion-say w/n 5 yrs. 2-some contemporaneous corroboration, like witnesses, electronic or written communications. W $ settlements in multi-millions slight chance exists some victims are motivated by more than justice,” he tweeted and then added, “This issue is so red hot right now there is no room for any thought or opinion but hang em high. If News wasn’t (formerly) a flirty biz then how do we explain so many newsroom courtships that have led to happy marriages?”
Following uproar surrounding Rivera’s tweets, Fox News released the following statement:
Late Wednesday, Rivera apologized for his comments.
"Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear I didn't sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden," he wrote, calling harassers "deviants who deserve what is coming to them."
He continued: "Often victims are too frightened to come forward in a timely fashion. I humbly apologize."
– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.