“Sad about @MLauer great guy, highly skilled & empathetic w guests & a real gentleman to my family & me,” he tweeted Wednesday. “News is a flirty business & it seems like current epidemic of #SexHarassmentAllegations may be criminalizing courtship & conflating it w predation.”
The 74-year-old TV news reporter added: “#SexHarassment should be confined to situations where superior imposes himself on subordinate who feels unable to complain because of power of perp or feared consequences to victim’s employment. Shouldn’t be used to get even w bad bosses or hated ex’s.”
Following his tweets, Rivera issued an apology Wednesday evening after receiving backlash: “Reaction to my tweets today on #sexharassment makes clear I didn’t sufficiently explain that this is a horrendous problem long hidden-Harassers are deviants who deserve what is coming to them-Often victims are too frightened to come forward in a timely fashion-I humbly apologize.”
Fox News also issued a statement about Rivera: “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.”
NBC announced early Wednesday that Lauer, 59, had been fired after the network received a “detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior” on Monday, with reason to believe “this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Lauer, who joined the network in 1992 as a newsreader on Today, had been co-anchor of the morning show since January 1997 and reportedly signed a $20 million dollar contract last year.
A source told PEOPLE that Lauer was let go due to alleged inappropriate sexual behavior throughout 2014, including at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.