It’s a well-known fact that no pop culture garbage fire can truly claim the title until it’s been ceremonially pissed on by Geraldo Rivera, the reigning King of Shitty Public Takes. Rivera previously graced the Harvey Weinstein and Roger Ailes scandals with his thoughtful micturitions on the topic of sexual harassment, calling news “a flirty business,” and expressing his clear dismay that we’ve all suddenly decided to start believing women when they make accusations of inappropriate workplace behavior against powerful men.
Now Geraldo has stepped in to rub his sweaty mustache all over today’s Matt Lauer scandal, too, expressing his opinion that the now-former Today star’s alleged attempts to fuck numerous women under his professional power over the years was simply an example of harmless workplace “courtship.” (Reminding us all of that old courtly romance, Sir Gawain And The Secret Button That Quietly Locks His Secluded Office Door.)
Rivera also busted out the old “flirty business” line, suggesting a complete inability to understand how the skewed power balance between a low-level newsroom staffer and her multi-millionaire, internationally famous boss might step several light years beyond “flirtation” and into coercion. He also laid out what he apparently sees as appropriate guidelines for women who want to speak up, noting that, by Geraldo Law, all accusations of harassment should be well-documented, and never more than five years old.
Which has a lot of people, with various degrees of humor, asking: What was Geraldo Rivera up to six years ago? After all, in his 1991 autobiography, Rivera claimed to have slept with at least 1,000 women. And—in light of his own comments about the ways sexual harassment suits screwed up his “dating” life, and Bette Midler’s description of his “unseemly” behavior toward her in the ’70s, which sounds to modern ears like a pretty clear example of sexual assault—if you don’t have any doubts that all of those encounters were on the up-and-up, we’ve got an unearthed vault of a famous Chicago gangster that you might be interested in opening up.
Update: Fox News has now issued a statement on Rivera’s comments: “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.”