With tweet, Geraldo Rivera (Jew, Real Name: Jerry Rivers) revives claim he drugged, groped Bette Midler



JTA — When TV personality Geraldo Rivera decided to weigh in Thursday on the firing of former NBC anchor Matt Lauer, the latest in a string of high-profile media men to get hit with allegations of sexual assault, he opened himself up to criticism and to old allegations that he had drugged and groped actress and singer Bette Midler.

Rivera, who is Jewish, at first seemed to defend Lauer’s behavior, calling news a “flirty business.” He tweeted that statement even after Lauer admitted to at least “some” of the lurid behavior detailed in a New York Times report Wednesday.

Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me. News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of  may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation. What about ?

He only dug his hole deeper from there.

 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

By Wednesday evening he apologized for the tweets, saying harassers are “deviants who deserve what is coming.”

Reaction to my tweets today on  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

Just as Rivera tweeted his thoughts, however, a video featuring footage from a 1991 Bette Midler interview began buzzing around the internet. In the clip, the Jewish actress and singer tells Barbara Walters that Rivera violently assaulted her the first time they met.

Earlier that year, Rivera had published an autobiography called “Exposing Myself” in which he claimed to have — in the words of Walters — a “torrid” sexual affair with Midler when she was a rising star in the early 1970s. (According to a Washington Post review, the book was full of other scandalous claims, including that Rivera took two prostitutes with him to the bar mitzvah of Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub’s son.)

Midler, however, explains to Walters that she has a different recollection of their relations. At first Midler laughs off the book’s claim, then gets serious, saying she would probably get in trouble if she divulged the circumstances of their first encounter. Walters lightly coaxes her into spilling the story, which turns out to be quite disturbing.

In Midler’s words, Rivera and his producer pushed her into a bathroom, broke two “poppers” (inhalant alkyl nitrate drugs), pushed them under her nose and proceeded to grope her.

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

Walters looks shocked, but as she tries to move on, Midler says, “If I knew … 20 years later that he was going to end up a slimy talk show host, I never would have even let him in the room.”

On Wednesday morning, Midler tweeted that Rivera has yet to apologize for the episode.

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. 

Rivera, who hosted multiple tabloid-style talk shows for decades and is now a contributor on Fox News, is the son of a Puerto Rican father and a Jewish mother. He had a bar mitzvah.

Midler — the recipient of numerous awards, including Grammys, Tonys, Golden Globes and Emmys — grew up in a Jewish family in Hawaii.


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