Update (below): Geraldo's own son 'ashamed' of him
Fox News host Geraldo Rivera thinks he knows who or what is to blame for the slaying of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin: the hoodie did it.
Appearing on Fox News early Friday morning, Rivera conceded that George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain who shot Martin, should be investigated, but he urged black and Latino parents to not allow their children to wear hooded sweatshirts.
"I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was," the host ranted. "You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta -- you're going to be a gangsta wannabe, well people are going to perceive you as a menace. That's what happens. It is an instant, reflexive action."
Rivera compared the situation to NPR firing Fox News contributor Juan Williams for saying he was scared of Muslims at the airport because of the way they dressed.
"That's an automatic reflex," Rivera explained. "When you see a black or Latino youngster, particularly on the street, you walk to the other side of the street. You try to avoid that confrontation. Trayvon Martin, God bless him. He's an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand, he didn't deserve to die, but I'll bet you money if he didn't have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way."
Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy noted that New Yorkers on Wednesday had held a "Million Hoodie March" in support of Martin.
"You cannot rehabilitate the hoodie," Rivera insisted. "I understand that the reaction might be overzealous or even irrational in some extent. You are not going to rehabilitate the hoodie. Stop wearing it!"
"There are some things that are almost inevitable. I'm not suggesting that Trayvon Martin had any kind of weapon or anything. He wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way. And if he had been dressed more appropriately -- I think unless it is raining out or you are at a track meet, leave the hoodie home."
"Perception is reality," guest co-host Juliet Huddy agreed.
In fact, Zimmerman told the 911 dispatcher that it was raining as he was pursuing Martin.
"This guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something," the neighborhood watch enthusiast said. "It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about. ... These assholes always get away."
Update: Geraldo's own son 'ashamed' of him
In a follow-up to his comments Friday morning, Geraldo told reporter MJ Lee at Politico that his own son, age 32, has written to say that he's "ashamed" of his father.
“Gabriel broke my heart," Geraldo explained in an email. "He’s my oldest, 32, and he just told me that for the first time in his life he’s ashamed of what I wrote on [Fox News Latino]."
Geraldo added that he replied to his oldest son by explaining that he simply wants to "save kids' lives in the real world."
"We can bluster and posture all day long about the injustice of it all, but despite what Roland Martin or even my son Gabriel Miguel Rivera says, every hoodie should come with a warning like cigarettes, ‘caution wearing this could get you killed,'" he wrote.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74403.html#ixzz1py019pYc
Watch this video from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast March 23, 2012.
Raw Story Senior Editor Stephen C. Webster contributed to this report.