Geraldo Rivera (L) has apologized to Bette Midler after she tweeted a 1991 video in which she said Rivera groped her in the 1970s.
Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald, Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald, Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Geraldo Rivera apologizes to Bette Midler after alleged groping 40 years ago

The actress alleged that the TV host groped her during an encounter in the 1970s. Rivera apologized to Midler on Twitter, as well as others who he said he may have hurt with the release of his 1991 book, “Exposing Myself.”

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Midler made the accusations against Rivera public on Thursday, when she shared a 1991 video of an interview with Barbara Walters with fans on Twitter.

“This was when he 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,” Midler said in the video

“Groped?” Walters responded.

“Groped me,” Midler said. “I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly. His behavior was unseemly.”

The actress told fans that she decided to share the video after Rivera defended former “Today” anchor Matt Lauer following news of his firing.

“Sad about Matt Lauer. Great guy, highly skilled and empathetic with guests and a real gentleman to my family and me,” Rivera tweeted in Lauer’s defense Wednesday. “News is a flirty business and it seems like current epidemic of sex harassment allegations may be criminalizing courtship and conflating it with predation. What about Garrison Keillor?”

Related: Geraldo Rivera apologizes after tweeting defense of Matt Lauer

Rivera later apologized for the tweets, saying, “Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear I didn't sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem. Long 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.”

Midler to shared her #metoo story the next day, tweeting, “tomorrow is my birthday. 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.”

The video was enough to prompt a response from Rivera.

“Twenty seven years ago I wrote a tawdry book depicting consensual events in 1973-45 years ago. I’ve deeply regretted its distasteful and disrespectful tone and have refrained from speaking about it. I’m embarrassed and profoundly sorry to those mentioned. I have and again apologize to anyone offended,” he wrote in one tweet.

Rivera quickly followed up with a second tweet directed specifically to Midler. “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 and demand an apology from me, for in the very least, (publicly) embarrassing her all those years ago. Bette, I apologize.”

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