Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera has issued a lengthy, heartfelt apology for doubting those who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Even more surprising, he apologized to New York Magazine writer Gabriel Sherman, dubbed, “Ailes’ personal Inspector Javert.”
In a Facebook post tonight, Rivera explained that he had a long friendship with Ailes and thought him “more likely to tear your throat out than engage in sweet talk.” But no more:
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.
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. The man she described in her pleadings was unknown even to those of us who thought we knew him well.
Now I am filled with regret for stubbornly discounting their various allegations. The Murdochs 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.
And then there’s this, unheard of coming from someone at Fox:
Even Ailes’ personal Inspector Javert, Gabriel Sherman, the New York Magazine writer I have called a “nerd with a grudge” deserves my apology. He is on the right side of history. Might does not mean right. I was wrong, and am paying the price.
The “price” Rivera referred to was a decision by HarperCollins (a sister company to Fox News) not to publish his book. The reason, Rivera said, was because of his “relatively flattering portrayal” of Ailes.
Rivera took a swipe at Fox’s competitors. But he sounded more wistful than combative or competitive.
[T]he Ailes scandal will continue to percolate at least 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. Now that Mr. Sherman has been hired by MSNBC, he will most assuredly be encouraged to stay obsessively focused.
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 concluded by urging others not to make the same mistake he made:
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.
Hell may not have frozen over, but it must have cooled down several notches.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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