Update (8:39 p.m.): Following uproar surrounding Rivera’s tweets, Fox News released the following statement:
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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.
Original Story (6:31 p.m.):
Following Matt Lauer’s bombshell firing from NBC on Wednesday morning in regard to 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 an immense amount of backlash for the tweet, Rivera went on to defend his comments in a series of additional tweets.
“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?”
A new report released on Wednesday afternoon detailed the extent to which Lauer allegedly harassed many of his former and current coworkers. According to multiple women who came forward, the former “TODAY” host displayed a pattern of inappropriate behavior, including giving a colleague a sex toy as a present, exposing his penis to another colleague and berating her for refusing to engage in a sexual act, and frequently playing the “f**k, marry, or kill” game in which he would identify which female hosts at the network he’d most like to sleep with.