Here's Bette Midler in 1991 Talking About Geraldo Rivera Drugging and Groping Her Without Consent

As the world grapples with the recent revelations of Matt Lauer’s alleged inappropriate sexual behavior towards his colleagues and the button under his desk that turned his workspace from an office to a playground for sexual misconduct, many have Taken to Twitter to share their thoughts. This includes Geraldo Rivera:

Mercifully, Rivera appears not to know how to thread tweets, but if you click on that first tweet, you’ll see that his thoughts continue. Here’s another:


Seems like Geraldo cares a lot about this issue. Why ever could that be?

In 1991, Geraldo Rivera published a memoir called Exposing Myself, which, per the Washington Post’s review of the book, promised to reveal what “his public was dying to know about his alleged conquests of Bette Midler” and other luminaries. In the above clip—recently tweeted by reporter Kinsey Schofield— of Bette Midler talking about Rivera, though, her side of the story is different.

Per the Washington Post, here’s what Rivera had to say about his encounter with Midler: “We were in the bathroom, preparing for the interview, and at some point I put my hands on her breasts.” Consent, implied or otherwise, is murky in Rivera’s description, but what Midler tells a pink-suited Barbara Walters is much more distressing:

“One thing I do remember—and that was how I met Geraldo—and that was not funny,” Midler says. “Should I tell you?” When Walters responds with a steady “Why not?” Midler demurs, saying that she doesn’t want to “get in trouble,” but at Walter’s encouragement, she relays the following tale.

Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me, in the ‘70s, in the early ‘70s. 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 pushed two poppers under my nose, and proceeded to grope me...I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly.


Midler laughs it off, eventually saying that had she known Rivera was going to be a “slimy talk show host,” twenty years later, she “never would have let him in the room.”

Senior Writer, Jezebel

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Generational note.

A very salient aspect of the interview is how Bette Midler laughs it off. Instant recognition. I’m a generation younger than she but even in my time to actually prove that one was a feminist, one was required to laugh it off. Otherwise face accusations of being ‘shrill,’ conservative, a throwback, overemotional, not being able to handle oneself.

If we did not laugh, not only would we be mocked by men, but accused by fellow feminists of setting back the cause. It was the whole era of ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud.’

Don’t show emotions. Don’t complain. Don’t be ‘shrill.’ Do not show any ‘weakness’. To do so would have been considered sabotaging for all women in the workplace.

This is not to blame feminists of that (or my) era: that is that which we were up against.

But the result was that we (in work as at home) continued to perform twice the labour for half the pay, and convinced ourselves that we needed to suffer in silence so that we might be treated as humans in the workplace. And in many ways, it backfired profoundly.

(For those too young to know Don’t Cry Out Loud, it was a feminist anthem of the late seventies)