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Geraldo Rivera Apologizes for Defending Roger Ailes: ‘I Am Filled With Regret’

Gerald Rivera Roger Ailes
Kelly Taub/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Geraldo Rivera is “filled with regret” over his statements defending Roger Ailes shortly after the then-Fox News chief was sued by Gretchen Carlson for sexual harassment, the journalist said in a lengthy Facebook post late on Thursday.

“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,” he wrote. “The man she described in her pleadings was unknown even to those of us who thought we knew him well.”

“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,” Rivera also said. “And if they are true, then his shame and banishment are well earned.”

Carlson filed the lawsuit, which was settled earlier this week, in July. About a week later, and after more women stepped forward with accusations against Ailes, Rivera tweeted, “I’ve known him 40 years. He’s about as flirty as the grizzly in #TheRevenant. I stand with Roger Ailes.”

In his Facebook post on Thursday, Rivera detailed several moments he had with Ailes, including the “awful aftermath” of the 9/11 attacks, when Rivera left CNBC to rejoin Fox News. “Through that period, he had my back through thick and thin, and I knew he would be there for my family if anything befell me in the field.

“His personal and professional loyalty over the years impelled me to Tweet again on Roger’s behalf, even as his scandal deepened,” Rivera went on.

The tweet Rivera was referring to, posted on July 19: “Don’t believe the crap about #RogerAiles. Only ones talking dirt are those who hate #FoxNews & want to hurt network that’s kicking their ass.”

As Rivera pointed out, two days later, Ailes resigned “when it became apparent that Gretchen was not alone in alleging abhorrent behavior behind his closed doors,” Rivera wrote. “Now I am filled with regret for stubbornly discounting their various allegations. The Murdoch’s would not have turned the world upside down but for good cause. Moreover, I apologize for my skepticism. Like victims of sexual assault, those alleging harassment deserve the presumption of credibility.”

Rivera revealed that as a result of his defense of Ailes and his “relatively flattering portrayal” of him in an early manuscript of his war memoir, “Geraldo of Arabia, From Tora Bora to Trump,” HarperCollins has chosen not to publish the book.

Rivera concluded his Facebook post by speculating what’s next for Fox News, and predicted that the story will remain in the news cycle for a long time. “Although that is understandable, it is not fair,” he added. “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.”

In the end, he encouraged victims of sexual harassment to speak out, writing, “To all the victims of sexual harassment, direct and indirect, I am sorry for what happened to you. As the father of three daughters, including one in the news business, I urge all who have been offended to reach out. Similarly, if you see harassment, say harassment, even if the alleged offender is an old friend.”

Read the full post below.