In the first few days after Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes, more than a dozen Fox News anchors went public with their support for Ailes. Now one of them is regretting it.
In a Facebook story posted tonight, Geraldo Rivera writes, “The man we knew as the blustering genius who invented our mighty Fox News Channel is a deceitful, selfish misogynist, if the charges against him are true. And if they are true, then his shame and banishment are well earned.”
Rivera writes about how Ailes gave him his first shot at CNBC in the 1990s and another at Fox after 9/11, when Rivera aspired to cover the war in Afghanistan. Rivera attended Roger and Beth Ailes’ 1998 City Hall wedding, presided over by Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “My wife Erica and I ache thinking about how she must be suffering.”
Like virtually all my colleagues at Fox News, I was totally blindsided by his sexual harassment scandal, which is why I responded to Gretchen Carlson’s initial filing of her lawsuit with extreme skepticism. I apologize for my skepticism. Like victims of sexual assault, those alleging harassment deserve the presumption of credibility.
Rivera also said New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman “deserves my apology. He is on the right side of history. I was wrong, and am paying the price.”
Rivera found out Tuesday that HarperCollins, a sister company of Fox News, was not going ahead with the publication of his memoir Geraldo of Arabia, From Tora Bora to Trump, “because of my uninformed support of Mr. Ailes, and the relatively flattering portrayal of him in an early manuscript.”
Rivera doesn’t see the scandal dying down anytime soon “in part because of the fear and loathing by competitors for Fox News, the ratings leader. Because it suits their perceived competitive advantage, CNN and other news networks will continue to report, repeat and regurgitate every detail in this melancholy saga. Although that is understandable, it is not fair. Having worked at all the networks over the last 47 years I can say definitively that the social culture is industry wide. Our rivals would all be better served to clean their own houses.”
Rivera, a father of three daughters, ends his Facebook post with a message for all: “if you see harassment, say harassment, even if the alleged offender is an old friend.”