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Geraldo Rivera Has Apologized To Bette Midler After A Resurfaced Groping Claim

Midler alleges Rivera and his unnamed producer pushed her into her bathroom during an interview at her home in the 1970s and began groping her.

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Updated on

"News is a flirty business," Rivera wrote, "& it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation."

Twitter: @GeraldoRivera

In a series of other tweets, Rivera offered his thoughts on the wave of sexual misconduct allegations made against powerful men, suggesting they were being used by some women to "get even [with] bad bosses or hated [ex-partners]."

But facing a firestorm of angry commenters, the Fox News anchor later apologized.

"Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear I didn't sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden," he wrote. "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."

Still, his tweets drew the attention of Fox News executives, who said they were "troubled" by Rivera's comments and were addressing them with the news anchor.

Statement from Fox News: “Geraldo's tweets do not reflect the views of Fox News or its management. We were troubled… https://t.co/eaeIUDz2E7

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After Rivera's tweets, old footage of a 1991 interview between Bette Midler and Barbara Walters began being shared online.

i wonder why Geraldo Rivera could possibly be trying downplay sexual harassment re: Matt Lauer on twitter today https://t.co/BIry5CfA2a

In the video, Midler claimed Rivera and his unnamed producer pushed her into her bathroom during an interview at her home in the 1970s. "They broke two poppers and pushed them under my nose and proceeded to grope me," she said. "I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly. His behavior was unseemly."

Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images

In his 1991 autobiography, reviewed at the time by the Washington Post, Rivera wrote that he had touched Midler's breasts.

"We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point I put my hands on her breasts," he wrote in a brief line excerpted for the review.

On Thursday, Midler herself shared the video on Twitter. "Tomorrow is my birthday," she wrote. "I feel like this video was a gift from the universe to me. Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this."

Tomorrow is my birthday. I feel like this video was a gift from the universe to me. Geraldo may have apologized fo… https://t.co/BzbnzYXBb5

"Yup. Me, too," she tweeted, referring to the refrain used by women on social media who've been victims of sexual misconduct.

On Friday, after this story was first published, Rivera apologized to Midler, but noted he recalled the incident differently.

Although I recall the time @BetteMidler has alluded to much differently than she, that does not change the fact tha… https://t.co/LBw8Jri2Js

He also said he was embarrassed about the "tawdry" memoir he had written. "I’ve deeply regretted its distasteful & disrespectful tone & have refrained from speaking about it," he wrote.

27 years ago I wrote a tawdry book depicting consensual events in 1973-45 years ago-I’ve deeply regretted its dista… https://t.co/L28ULrwPFs

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

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