Flashback: Bette Midler Claims Geraldo Rivera Drugged, Groped Her

On Wednesday, hours after Matt Lauer was fired from NBC over allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, another longtime TV news stalwart, Geraldo Rivera, weighed in with his opinion on the ongoing deluge of accusations against powerful men in media: “News is a flirty business and it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship and conflating it [with] predation,” Rivera wrote. He even went so far as to outline how he believed such allegations should be investigated, suggesting that, because of massive cash settlements, “some victims are motivated by more than justice.”

Many noted the frantic pay-no-attention-to-that-man-behind-the-curtain tone of Rivera’s tweets, and not long after, a video resurfaced in which Bette Midler accused the TV personality of drugging and groping her in the Seventies. On Thursday, Midler seemed to respond to the revived traction the video was getting, tweeting simply, “Yup. Me, too.”

The video clip comes from an interview Midler gave with Barbara Walters in 1991, not long after Rivera published his autobiography, Exposing Myself. While Rivera chronicled his career in the book, he also spoke openly about his sex life, extramarital affairs and flings with stars such as Margaret Trudeau, tennis champ Chris Evert and Midler. Walters asked Midler about her appearance in the book, specifically Rivera’s description of her as “insatiable.” 

Midler initially laughed off the remark, saying, “I thought, ‘Oh, I needed that at this point in my life.’ Just when everyone perceives me as this sort of little old lady type, conservative, somewhat straight laced.” However, Midler’s tone changed as she told Walters that she did not remember the affair as Rivera described it in his book. What she did remember was a different encounter, when she and Rivera first met: “And that was not funny,” Midler said.

Despite bringing up the story, Midler seemed wary of telling it at first, worrying that she “might get in trouble.” Nevertheless, she proceeded to tell Walters: “Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me, in the Seventies, in the early Seventies. This was when he was very hot. 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… I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly.”

While Walters sat there stunned, Midler made another light joke about the incident. But then she added, “I’ll tell you the truth, if I had known 20 years later he was going to end up a slimy talk show host I never would have even let him in the room. I mean you have no way of knowing that these things are going to come back to haunt you.”

Later on Thursday, Midler acknowledged the clip in another tweet. “Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this,” she wrote. “#MeToo.” 

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