Geraldo Rivera: Hip-hop has damaged communities of color more than racism over last 10 years
Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera on 'HuffPost Live' on Feb. 17, 2015 [Screen capture from HuffPostLive]

Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera, who once argued that Trayvon Martin's choice of clothing contributed to his shooting death, criticized what he described as hip-hop culture while describing himself as a "militant moderate" in an interview with HuffPostLive on Tuesday.


"Hip-hop has done more damage to black and brown people than racism in the last ten years," Rivera told host Josh Zepps. "When you find the youngster -- a Puerto Rican from the South Bronx or a Black kid from Harlem -- who has succeeded in life other than being the one-tenth of one-tenth of 1 percent that make it in the music business that's been a success in life walking around with his pants around his ass and with visible tattoos. It is this whole ethos."

Rivera then qualified his statement by mentioning his friendship with entrepreneur Russell Simmons and other figures within the hip-hop community he did not identify.

"At some point, those guys have to cop to the fact that, by encouraging this distinctive culture that is removed from the mainstream, they have encouraged people to be so different from the mainstream that they can't participate other than the racks in the garment center and those entry-level jobs," he continued.

"There are a lot of directions I can go there," Zepps replied. "But I don't want to go down an entire racial hole, because there are a lot of potential explanations for why there is alienation of minority communities."

"I think that fashion plays a part," Rivera responded.

Rivera presented his remarks as a part of conservative philosophy with which he agreed, contrasting it with stances he said marked him as part-progressive.

"Immigration reform, gay marriage and abortion are all things that, that's why I voted for Barack Obama three times," Rivera explained. "And I hate Benghazi -- it's become pornographic, I think, the way they flogged the Benghazi non-scandal. I think it's really very unfortunate on the right-hand side."

Rivera was criticized after a March 2012 appearance on Fox in which he said that Martin's hooded sweater was "as much responsible" for his death as the man who shot and killed him, George Zimmerman. Martin was 17 years old at the time of his death. He later issued a public apology for the remark.

The entire interview can be seen below. Rivera's remarks regarding hip-hop begin around the 22-minute mark.