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Bette Midler has the receipts on Geraldo

(Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Geraldo Rivera shoved his big dumb mustache into the Matt Lauer sexual harassment scandal yesterday, earning the usual chorus of “Shut up, Geraldo”s from right-thinking people everywhere, and a somewhat more surprising “Whoa there, buddy” from his bosses at Fox News, who’d apparently stumbled across a Geraldo hot take so bad not even they could lift it. Rivera issued a sort of apology for his comments—which dubbed news an inherently “flirty business,” praised Lauer for his empathy in interviews (if not in interpersonal relationships), and suggested an informal five-year statute of limitations on harassment complaints—last night, expressing his regret that he didn’t make his feelings on the “hidden deviants” lurking in the entertainment industry more clear.


And hey, speaking of: Bette Midler popped up on Twitter today to remind everybody that, if Rivera is finally clearing out his backlog of apologies, he might want to send one her way, too. As we noted yesterday, the two have a long and unpleasant history together: Rivera claimed in an autobiography that Midler was one of the 1,000 women he supposedly slept with over the years, while Midler’s account—per an interview with Barbara Walters from several years ago—makes it clear that there was nothing consensual about their encounter.

In the interview, which the actress posted on Twitter today, Midler describes an incident from the 1970s, in which Rivera and a producer pushed her into a bathroom, drugged her, and then proceeded to grope her. “I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera,” Midler notes, after vocally worrying that she’ll “get in trouble” for telling the story. In the end, she dubbed his behavior “unseemly”; to modern ears, it sounds a lot like sexual assault.

Today, Midler added her name to the ever-growing ranks of the #MeToo campaign. There’s no sign of any fresh apology from Rivera as of yet.


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