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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Geraldo Rivera apologizes to Bette Midler after groping allegations

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Geraldo Rivera has offered an apology to Bette Midler in light of her resurfaced groping accusations, but he did not outright admit to any sexual misconduct.

“27 years ago I wrote a tawdry book depicting consensual events in 1973 — 45 years ago. I’ve deeply regretted its distasteful & disrespectful tone & have refrained from speaking about it — I’m embarrassed & profoundly sorry to those mentioned — I have & again apologize to anyone offended,” Rivera wrote in a series of tweets posted on Friday.

His book, Exposing Myself, was published in 1991.

“Although I recall the time @BetteMidler has alluded to much differently than she, that does not change the fact that she has a right to speak out & demand an apology from me, for in the very least, publically embarrassing her all those years ago,” he continued. “Bette, I apologize.”

Rivera initially spoke out in support of Matt Lauer, who was fired by NBC for “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.” Afterwards, reporter Yashar Ali brought up a decades-old clip of Midler speaking with Barbara Walters when she first accused Rivera of drugging and groping her with a producer colleague in the 1970s.

“This was when [Rivera] was very, sort of, hot,” Midler explains in the video, which the actress then addressed in tweets on Thursday. “And he and his producer left the crew in the other room, they pushed me into my bathroom, they broke two poppers and pushed them under my nose and proceeded to grope me.” She further elaborated, “Groped me. I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was… he was unseemly.”

“Yup. Me, too,” Midler tweeted. “Tomorrow is my birthday. 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. #MeToo.”

This comes after Rivera apologized for his tweets about sexual harassment. He initially called news “a flirty business” in his response to Lauer’s ousting, which Fox News then said in a statement does “not reflect the views of Fox News or its management. We were troubled by his comments and are addressing them with him.”

“Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear I didn’t sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden,” Rivera tweeted. “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.”

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