Bette Midler Resurfaces 1991 Interview Claiming Geraldo Rivera Groped Her

Bette Midler and Geraldo Rivera - Split - Getty - H 2017
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After the Fox News personality defended Matt Lauer, Midler tweeted a clip from her interview with Barbara Walters and asked Rivera for an apology.

A day after Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera defended Matt Lauer in the wake of his sexual harassment allegations, Bette Midler is speaking out against Rivera, revealing he groped her in the 1970s and she deserves an apology.

On Thursday, Midler posted a video from her 1991 interview with Barbara Walters on her Twitter page, where she recalled the disturbing encounter she had with the journalist.

"Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me, in the '70s, the early '70s," Midler said. "And 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 [a recreational drug] and pushed them under my nose and proceeded to grope me."

After Walters appeared dumbfounded over her claim, Midler reiterated her statement. "Groped me. I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was … he was unseemly."

Rivera addressed his encounter with Midler in his 1991 memoir, Exposing Myself, writing only: "We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point, I put my hands on her breasts."

On Wednesday, Rivera expressed sympathy toward Lauer, tweeting, "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 #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation."

After receiving backlash for defending Lauer, Rivera later apologized. "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," he wrote.

After his apology about Lauer, Midler resurfaced the interview of her encounter with Rivera, requesting he apologize to her as well. "Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this," Midler wrote.

On Friday, Rivera tweeted an apology to Midler, also admitting that he regrets his "distasteful" and "disrespectful" tone of his memoir. 

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

Rivera also pointed out that while he remembers his encounter with Midler “much differently,” he still believes she had a right to demand an apology.


Dec. 1, 9:25 a.m. This story has been updated with Rivera's apology on Twitter.