Geraldo Rivera Defends Matt Lauer, Calls Journalism a "Flirty Business"

Geraldo Rivera - Getty - H 2016
Getty Images

Geraldo Rivera - Getty - H 2016

"News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation," the Fox News personality tweeted; he has since apologized.

Geraldo Rivera on Wednesday sent out several tweets in which he defended the ousted Matt Lauer and warned against the cry from some for all-female morning show formats. He also said sexual harassment claims should require a more stringent test. 

The Today show anchor was terminated from NBC News earlier in the day over "inappropriate sexual behavior." By the afternoon, Variety published a report in which several women accused Lauer of sexual harassment at NBC. 

Calling Lauer a "great guy, highly skilled and a real gentleman to my family and me," Fox News' Rivera tweeted, "News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation." 

In the same tweet, he attempted to shift focus to Garrison Keillor, the creator and former host of A Prairie Home Companion, who was also fired Wednesday from Minnesota Public Radio for "inappropriate behavior." 

Through several more tweets, Rivera warned against those calling for all-female morning show formats in the wake of the Lauer and Charlie Rose sexual harassment scandals. 

"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 tweeted. "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." 

Rivera concluded his thoughts with what, in his opinion, sexual harassment allegations "should require." 

"#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. 

Multiple Fox News personalities, including Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes, were previously ousted over sexual harassment allegations. 

In response to Rivera's series of tweets, former Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson, who sued ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes for sexual harassment last year, took to Twitter to slam his defense of Lauer. 

"Women just want to keep their jobs," she wrote. "They get paid in secret settlements b/c most never work in chosen fields ever again after bravely coming forward."

Fox News responded Wednesday night to Rivera's tweets, saying, ""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."

Hours later, Rivera sent out an apology on Twitter:

Updated 8:24 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 30: Updated with Rivera's tweeted apology.