Geraldo on Matt Lauer: Are we criminalizing "courtship" in the workplace? Update: Fox "troubled"

The “courtship” in Lauer’s case allegedly involved giving dildos as gifts and demanding a spontaneous BJ from a surprised co-worker.

Does Geraldo have a head injury?

That tweet’s got it all — freaky tone-deafness about Lauer’s “empathy,” minimization of sexual extortion by comparing it to flirting and “courtship” (ugh), and some gratuitous whataboutism at the expense of Garrison Keillor, whose own scandal has been widely covered in media today (including here). Even if you want to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he chimed in before he read this afternoon’s bombshell in Variety, a man who’s worked for years at Fox News of all places should know better by now than to take workplace harassment lightly.

As a Twitter pal suggested, perhaps he’s pre-spinning because he’s worried about what might be hiding in Geraldo Rivera’s vault?

Interestingly, 74-year-old Geraldo also thinks there should be a statute of limitations on harassment claims:

There already are time limitations on filing harassment suits, both legally and culturally. The longer you wait to allege that you were harassed, the more you open yourself up to credibility questions about why you didn’t speak up sooner. Wait too long and you might be barred by law from suing. (The statute of limitations for rape is much longer and in some cases doesn’t exist at all, which is why Harvey Weinstein’s in a world of criminal trouble right now.) Or have I misunderstood in thinking he’s talking law here? Is he suggesting that women who wait “too long” to talk about harassment they’ve experienced just … shouldn’t talk about it at all in public? Ever?

He’s had quite a few hot takes over the years on this topic, it should be noted:

Speaking of Fox and harassment, a number of people today have made the point that in light of the Mark Halperin scandal at ABC, the Charlie Rose disaster at CBS, and now the Lauer sleazefest at NBC, the Ailes and O’Reilly episodes at Fox are beginning to look less like the exception and more like the rule industry-wide. Whichever network you work for, if you’re an important man your superiors will evidently make sure you’re well kept, whether that means passively looking the other way at what you’re up to or actively enabling it. Patrick Ruffini made a smarter point about Fox’s role in all of this, though, asking, “Why did this cascade start with Weinstein and not Roger Ailes? Was it because the Fox scandals were mostly about discrediting Fox?” A media that dislikes Fox for its politics may have been too eager to believe that the right-wing network’s sins were somehow unique to the right, or at least uniquely bad there. Enlightened men like Halperin and Rose and Lauer behaving badly towards women? That’s hard to believe. Republicans like Ailes and O’Reilly, though? All too plausible. Chase that story.

Never forget, NBC is the same network that passed on Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein expose, which has turned out to be the story of the year. Maybe they were too focused on procuring for Lauer to pay it much attention. What a scumbag network. Here’s Lauer interviewing O’Reilly on “Today” not long ago and noting, with newly creepy knowingness, that a TV outfit would be disinclined to dump a top anchor for sexual predation when he’s bringing in money and ratings. Exit question: Has a major Fox News anchor ever forthrightly addressed the allegations against O’Reilly and Ailes or acknowledged that they stand accused of serious misconduct? Rose’s and Lauer’s shows have both done that in the past few days as stories about them emerged. I know that Fox has *mentioned* Ailes’s and O’Reilly’s departures — Howard Kurtz, the network’s media critic, has covered it sporadically — but I can’t remember them ever going directly at the accusations against them in a big spot such as, say, on Tucker or Hannity.

Update: Via email, Fox is unhappy with Geraldo: “Geraldo’s tweets do not reflect the views of FOX News or its management. We were troubled by his comments and are addressing them with him.”