The former talk show host, 74, took to Twitter on Wednesday, November 29, to voice his support for Lauer, 59, and share his thoughts on sexual harassment claims in Hollywood. “Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me,” Rivera wrote. “News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation.”
As previously reported, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb revealed on Wednesday’s episode of the Today show that Lauer had been let go by NBC after the network “received a detailed complaint by a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by [Lauer].” Later on Wednesday, Variety published a report detailing additional harassment claims made against Lauer by numerous women.
“A jerk’s a jerk in dating,” Rivera continued. “#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. Heard well-regarded women in media today suggesting morning shows should go to an all-female format. That should be as unacceptably retro as the other way around.”
The reporter added his insight on the process of investigating misconduct claims in a professional setting. “#SexHarassment allegations should require: 1-made in a timely fashion-say w/n 5 years. 2-some contemporaneous corroboration, like witness, electronic, or written communications,” he suggested, adding that multi-million dollar settlements mean the “slight chance exists some victims are motivated by more than justice.”
Celebrities didn’t shy away from slamming Rivera’s remarks. “f–k that geraldo,” Rosie O’Donnell replied.
Added author Gretchen Carlson: “Pls @GeraldoRivera once my friend — women just want to keep their jobs. They get paid in settlements b/c most never work in chosen fields ever again after bravely coming forward thanks.”
See more reactions on Twitter below.
i wonder why Geraldo Rivera could possibly be trying downplay sexual harassment re: Matt Lauer on twitter today https://t.co/BIry5CfA2a
— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) November 29, 2017
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) November 29, 2017
Geraldo, do you think locking the door of your office and showing an unwilling participant your genitals is just "flirting?" If so, I would love to hear what you think constitutes sexual harassment.
— Jenna Mullins (@JBomb11) November 29, 2017
Later on Wednesday evening, Fox News responded to Rivera’s controversial comments. “Geraldo’s tweets do not reflect the views of FOX News or its management,” a spokesperson for the network told Us Weekly in a statement. “We were troubled by his comments and are addressing them with him.”