Bette Midler: ‘TV icon groped me’
FOOTAGE has resurfaced of Bette Midler telling Barbara Walters how TV icon Geraldo Rivera allegedly sexually assaulted her in her bathroom before an interview in the 1970s.
The video of the 1991 interview emerged after Rivera defended NBC anchor Matt Lauer - one of the most famous TV anchors in the US - who was sacked by the network for allegedly sexually inappropriate behaviour.
"Geraldo and his producer came to do an interview with me, in the '70s, the early '70s," Midler said. "And this was when he was very, sort of, hot. And he and his producer left the crew in the other room, they pushed me into my bathroom, they broke two poppers (the recreational drug) and pushed them under my nose and proceeded to grope me."
In the footage, Walters looked shocked as she asked, "Grope…?"
In a sign of changing attitudes towards sexual harassment and assault, the interview did not cause a scandal when it aired over 20 years ago.
In a controversial tweet posted after Lauer's sacking, Rivera described the news industry as "a flirty business" and called the former Today host a "great guy".
He then appeared to dig himself even deeper with a second tweet that posed the question: "If News wasn't (formerly) a flirty biz then how do we explain so many newsroom courtships that have led to happy marriages?"
Midler has not yet commented on the footage, People reported.