Bette Midler Told Barbara Walters in 1991 That Geraldo Rivera Groped Her

A 1991 interview Bette Midler did with Barbara Walters, in which the actress accuses Geraldo Rivera of groping her, is resurfacing after the actor came to the defense of Matt Lauer, who on Wednesday was fired from NBC for inappropriate sexual behavior.

Midler told Walters about the encounter after Walters asked her about Rivera's claim that he and Midler had a sexual encounter.

"Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me, in the '70s, the early '70s," Midler said. "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."

"Groped me," she continued. "I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was… he was unseemly."

"Poppers" is a term for the recreational drug alkyl nitrite.

Rivera discussed the moment in his 1991 memoir, Exposing Myself, writing, "We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point I put my hands on her breasts." The book was reviewed by the Washington Post at the time of its release.

On Wednesday, Rivera used Twitter to defend Lauer, writing that news is a "flirty" business.

"Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me," he wrote. "News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation."

Rivera continued, "A jerk's a jerk in dating. #SexHarassment should be confined to situations where superior imposes himself on subordinate who feels unable to complain because of power of perp or feared consequences to victim's employment. Shouldn't be used to get even w bad bosses or hated ex's."

In a statement, FOX News Channel said, "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."


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