One day after she asked for an apology for an alleged groping incident in the early 1970s, Bette Midler received one from Geraldo Rivera on Friday.
He said, however, that he doesn’t recall the incident the same way she does.
She brought it up after all these years after a video resurfaced of an interview she gave to Barbara Walters in 1991 in which she described how Rivera and his producer pushed her into a bathroom where they drugged and groped her.
That interview took on fresh importance after Rivera, 74, defended “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer, who was fired for alleged sexually inappropriate behavior at work and on assignments.
“Tomorrow is my birthday,” Midler, 71, tweeted on Thursday. “I feel like this video was a gift from the universe to me. Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this. #MeToo”
According to People, a Washington Post review of Rivera’s 1991 memoir, “Exposing Myself,” mentioned the incident. The newspaper published this excerpt from the book: “We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point I put my hands on her breasts.”
Rivera’s apology tweet, however, did not mention that.
“Although I recall the time Bette Midler has alluded to much differently than she, that does not change the fact that she has a right to speak out & demand an apology from me, for in the very least, publicly embarrassing her all those years ago,” he tweeted. “Bette, I apologize.”
Noted Jezebel: “At the very least, he apologizes for the way he wrote about her in a book, and at the very most he is essentially denying her account of what happened. Sorry!”
In her interview with Walters, Midler said Rivera and his producer came to do an interview with her in the early ‘70s.
“And this was when he was very, sort of, hot,” she told Walters. “And he and his producer left the crew in the other room, they pushed me into my bathroom, they broke two poppers (drugs) and pushed them under my nose and proceeded to grope me.”
Midler added that she did not “offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was … he was unseemly.”
Rivera, a Fox News contributor, “troubled” the network, it said, with his tweets about Lauer and sexual harassment. He seemed to suggest some accusers might be trying to “get even with bad bosses or hated exes.”
“Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me,” he tweeted Wednesday. “News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation.”
He added: “#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.”
Fox News tweeted that Rivera’s tweets did not reflect the views of the network or its management. “We were troubled by his comments and are addressing them with him,” it tweeted.
Rivera later apologized for the tweets, calling harassers “deviants.”