Bette Midler Geraldo Rivera 01
Bette Midler Geraldo Rivera 01

Bette Midler Says That During the ’70s Geraldo Rivera Drugged and Groped Her (Video)

The website Jezebel recently unearthed 1991 Barbara Walters interview with iconic singer Bette Midler in which Midler alleges that talk show host and Fox News pundit Geraldo Rivera once drugged and groped her. This rediscovered Bette Midler Geraldo Rivera story comes on the heels of Rivera defending (and then back-pedalling his defense of) Matt Lauer, the NBC anchor fired amid accusations of sexual misconduct. Lauer has also issued a public apology for his misconduct.

Before Midler’s interview with Walters, Rivera had published an autobiography entitled Exposing Myself in which he wrote, “[Midler and I] were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point I put my hands on her breasts.” Since we don’t have a copy of the book, it’s unclear whether Midler consented or the extent to which they sexually engaged one another.

However, when Walters interviewed Midler, Midler remembered the encounter quite differently.

 

The Bette Midler Geraldo Rivera story

Walters asks, “What do you think of Geraldo Rivera’s autobiography in which he says that you and he had a torrid sexual affair and you were ‘insatiable?'”

Midler laughs and jokes:

Oh, I thought it was fabulous. I thought, ‘Oh, I needed that at this point in my life. Just when everyone perceives me as this, you know, sort of, little old lady type, conservative, y’know, somewhat straight-laced. I am a little straight-laced. He comes along and tells the world how great, you know, what a sexy chick I am.

“So,” she continues, “in a way it was kind of, I had to laugh. My husband and I, we both had a big laugh over it. I said, ‘Well, his penis went to his head.'”

Midler adds “The truth about it is that I didn’t remember. I mean, one thing I did remember and that was how I met Geraldo and that was not funny. Shall I tell you?”

Walters responds, “Why not?”

Midler says, “No, I better not. I’m going to get in trouble.” Walters barely encourages her, and Midler continues after saying, “It was very unpleasant.”

She then lays out the following Bette Midler Geraldo Rivera story:

Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me, in the ‘70s, the early ‘70s. And this was when he was very, sort of hot. 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. And I didn’t have any idea— grope me. I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly. His behavior was unseemly.

“And you don’t remember?” Walters then asks. Though Midler interrupts her by saying, “And my friend says, my friend says ‘Oh, what a charmer! Of course you slept with him after that!'”

When Walters says, “Wow. Let’s go onto other things, shall we?” Midler continues by saying:

I’ll tell you the truth. If I had known he was going to be so, 20 years later, he was going to wind up a slimy talk show host, I never would have even let him in the room. I mean, you have no way of knowing at the time that these things are going to come back to haunt you.

Midler is a beloved diva and gay icon who began her career in 1970 performing at New York City’s gay Continental Baths alongside newly out pianist Barry Manilow.

 

The Bette Midler Geraldo Rivera story looks worse amid Rivera’s recent defense of Matt Lauer

The Bette Midler Geraldo Rivera story seems especially troubling considering Rivera’s recent defense of fired NBC anchor and Today Show host Matt Lauer.

NBC fired Lauer over allegations that he sent sexually lewd text messages, openly compared women’s sexual and workplace abilities, once showed a female colleague his penis and that he once bought a sex toy for a female colleague including “an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her.”

He also allegedly “had a button under his desk that allowed him to lock his door from the inside without getting up” so that no one would walk in on his sexual advances on women.

Bette Midler Geraldo Rivera 02
Geraldo Rivera

After the allegations against Lauer surfaced, Rivera wrote in three separate tweets:

Sad about great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me. News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation. What about ?

allegations should require: 1-made in a timely fashion-say w/n 5 yrs. 2-some contemporaneous corroboration, like witnesses, electronic or written communications. W $ settlements in multi-millions slight chance exists some victims are motivated by more than justice

This issue is so red hot right now there is no room for any thought or opinion but hang em high. If News wasn’t (formerly) a flirty biz then how do we explain so many newsroom courtships that have led to happy marriages?

Shortly after his tweets, FOX News, the right-wing TV network that hosts Rivera as a recurring commentator, released a statement that read, “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.”

At that point, Rivera issued an additional tweet that said:

Reaction to my tweets today on makes clear I didn’t sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden — 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.

 

Matt Lauer just apologized for his sexual misconduct

Today, Lauer issued a public apology which read, in part:

There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.

Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.

Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.