Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera faced an angry backlash on Wednesday after expressing sympathy for former NBC host Matt Lauer, who was fired over a complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior.
Rivera on Twitter worried that the allegations against Lauer were evidence that the media world was beginning to "criminalizing courtship."
"Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me," he tweeted. "News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation. What about #GarrisonKeillor?"
Rivera followed up that tweet with two more: "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"
"#SexHarassment 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."
But social media users noted that Lauer had been accused of more than just being "flirty" with female co-workers. He has been accused of luring a woman into his office and exposing his penis to her, among other things.
A spokesperson for Fox News said the network does not support Rivera's comments: "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."
Read some of the responses below:
@GeraldoRivera @MLauer This is the worst take.— Leah jfc just vote for Biden Hines (@Leah jfc just vote for Biden Hines)1511989548.0
@GeraldoRivera Climb back into your hole, you pervert.— Matt McDermott (@Matt McDermott)1511989829.0
@GeraldoRivera @MLauer What a “great guy”... Lauer summoned a female employee to his office, dropped his pants, sho… https://t.co/JTimKxPpiO— Maury Brown (@Maury Brown)1511989919.0
@GeraldoRivera @MLauer So he didn't lock your wife or kid in his office or tell them where in you he wanted to use… https://t.co/Cko8Eqlht3— Pasdy_Kwah (@Pasdy_Kwah)1511990062.0
@GeraldoRivera @MLauer Dude you worked for noted flirt and sexual predator Roger Ailes. You might want to delete th… https://t.co/CvB0dBeNAb— Jove Oliver (@Jove Oliver)1511989911.0
Fox News on Wednesday condemned Rivera's remarks, insisting they are not representative of the network's stance on sexual harassment.
"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," Fox News said in a statement.
Rivera later apologized, writing on Twitter, "I didn't sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem."
"Long hidden harassers are deviants who deserve what is coming to them," Rivera added.
Read his full apology below:
Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear I didn't sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous p… https://t.co/UANdQMAlkQ— Geraldo Rivera (@Geraldo Rivera)1512011495.0