The fallout from Fox News’ settlement with Gretchen Carlson over her sex harassment lawsuit against former network head Roger Ailes continues, with many former Ailes supporters feeling the brunt. The removal of Greta Van Susteren from her show on Fox News was a shock, as was her reported change of heart behind the scenes. Now Geraldo Rivera is the latest to change his thoughts on his former boss, penning an in-depth apology for his comments after the lawsuit hit the public and regret that he didn’t act earlier.
The post from Rivera’s Facebook page is titled Roger And Me and covers the entire turn of events for Rivera throughout the scandal. This includes his past history with Roger Ailes, his tweets comparing the Fox News leader to The Revenant bear, and that time he called Ailes ouster as an example of “the grotesque unfairness of life.” Safe to say this apology has a lot of ground to cover:
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.
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.
Rivera also notes that his “uninformed support” of Ailes has cost him a publishing deal with HarperCollins due to a positive portrayal of Ailes in an early manuscript. The anchor also uses his apology to attempt and paint a picture of the environment that breeds the complaints found in Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit:
For a lot of reasons, news is a flirty business. With its pressure cooker environment and long hours, it is sometimes the only place young professionals can meet. Just add up all the newsroom romances that have resulted in marriage over the years.
Management’s role is to keep the playing field level, professional and fair. As society evolved from the “Mad Men” era of the 1950-60’s, giant steps have been taken to protect subordinate employees from harassment and unwelcome advances, particularly by superiors. Sure, there is far to go, but as the seismic response to Gretchen and the other purported victims makes clear, the news business will no longer tolerate boorish conduct by anyone, however powerful. Strict policies including sensitivity training are in place. Perpetrators do so at tremendous peril to their careers and families.
You can read the full apology below and judge for yourself. Rivera does indeed seem remorseful, but is his situation a cautionary tale for providing an uninformed defense to somebody in Ailes’ situation?