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Geraldo Rivera apologizes to Bette Midler and for his ‘tawdry book’

Geraldo Rivera is once again apologizing for something he’s written. This time it’s his 1991 memoir, “Exposing Myself.” 

He’s also sorry about what happened with Bette Midler back in the ’70s — or “in the very least” for embarrassing her by mentioning what happened in his book —  though he still doesn’t 100% agree with her version of what happened.

Rivera had tweeted his support for Matt Lauer on Wednesday in the wake of the “Today” host’s firing over allegations of sexual misconduct. At the same time, he called journalism a “flirty” business and said the current wave of accusations might be “criminalizing courtship & conflating it [with] predation.” Then he apologized, saying he “didn’t sufficiently explain” that he also thought sexual harassment was a “horrendous problem.”

On Friday morning, the Fox News correspondent tweeted, “27 years ago I wrote a tawdry book depicting consensual events in 1973-45 years ago-I’ve deeply regretted its distasteful & disrespectful tone & have refrained from speaking about it-I’m embarrassed & profoundly sorry to those mentioned-I have & again apologize to anyone offended.”

Rolling back to the ’90s, here’s what the Los Angeles Times said about Rivera’s book when it came out

Geraldo Rivera has written an autobiography called “Exposing Myself,” and it does just that. The syndicated talk-show host’s new book includes tales of threesomes in an ABC boiler room and celebrity interviews that ended with Rivera bedding the interviewee. He claims to have fondled Bette Midler while preparing for an interview and to have had sex with ex-Canada First Lady Margaret Trudeau. He also tells of a relationship with two nameless college students that “blossomed into one of my great romances.”

The memoir — which the Daily Beast described Thursday as a “horndog’s bible of workplace harassment” — came back on the radar on the same day Midler revived a 1991 Barbara Walters interview clip in which the singer talked about what had happened between her and Rivera, as compared to what he had written.

At that time, he was four years into the 11-year run of daytime talk show “Geraldo” (and three years off the cover of Playgirl), and Barbara Walters was sitting down with Bette Midler for an interview.

Walters, asking about a passage in the book “in which he said you and he had a torrid sexual affair and you were insatiable,” urged Midler to “get in a little trouble” talking about it.

During an interview in the ’70s, Midler said, Rivera and his producer left their crew in another room, “pushed me into my bathroom, they broke two poppers and put them under my nose, and proceeded to grope me. … I did not offer myself up on the altar of Geraldo Rivera. He was unseemly. His behavior was unseemly.” 

Midler tweeted Thursday, “Geraldo may have apologized for his tweets supporting Matt Lauer, but he has yet to apologize for this.”

That’s what he addressed Friday, saying, “Although I recall the time @BetteMidler 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, publically [sic] embarrassing her all those years ago. Bette, I apologize.”

That tone was a bit different from what he told Howard Stern in 1991 after the Walters interview aired. 

Talking to Stern on the radio, he said his encounter with Midler went down “precisely” as he had written about it and noted that he had “all kinds of witnesses.”

Said Rivera: “If she keeps up this interview rape talk, and saying I drugged her for sex, I’ll sue her.”

Beyond referring to Rivera’s tweets, a Fox News spokesperson had no comment on the apologies for the book and to Midler. As of late Friday morning on social media, the Divine Miss M, who turned 72 the same day, had not remarked either. 

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