Geraldo Rivera and Fox News Have Broken Up. It May Have Been Bound to Happen

Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera, perhaps the network’s most eccentric and unconventional personality, has left Fox News after spending more than two decades at the network. His exit, however, was about as peculiar as the opinions he shared while at Fox. “Bumpy day on the North Atlantic,” Rivera, who turns 80 next week, wrote in a Thursday tweet alongside a clip of him boating. “Anyway, I got fired from [The Five] so I quit Fox.”

He followed up that announcement with a Friday morning appearance on Fox & Friends that featured a tribute to Rivera’s lengthy career. “I am leaving Fox, my dear friends,” he said, again linking the decision to his departure from The Five, a daytime roundtable show and the network’s most-watched offering. “But I want to leave not thinking about those things. I want to leave thinking about how wonderful everyone has been to me.”

Rivera further noted that it was his interest in war reporting after the September 11 attacks that led him to join the network and remain there despite being an imperfect fit: “It established a relationship with Fox that people would not ordinarily think of as a natural relationship because of political ideologies and so forth—me being more on the progressive side than many of my colleagues—but it worked out.”

Rivera’s younger brother is also leaving the network Friday, according to NPR’s David Folkenflik. The siblings joined Fox News at the same time, with Craig Rivera, 68, serving as his brother’s camera operator and producer.

While Geraldo Rivera’s uncharacteristic politics resulted in many on-air clashes—with him often playing the foil to Sean Hannity, Dan Bongino, and Jesse Watters—the past couple of years saw those incidents escalate, particularly on The Five. He often traded insults with Greg Gutfeld, the show’s leading act, whom Rivera called an “insulting punk” last year. And in a 2021 segment that tied into that year’s Virginia gubernatorial race, Gutfeld accused Rivera of getting “more angry over people who don’t get the frickin’ vaccine than you are over a rapist.”

Like most in the mainstream media, Rivera ardently defended the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against the right’s anti-vax claims, leading to many of his most contentious debates on the show. But his stalwart criticisms of Israel even placed him to the left of most CNN and MSNBC hosts. In 2021, he went so far as to say that Americans—by way of the billions in US military aid given to Israel—were complicit in the killing of Palestinian children. (For that point, Rivera was accused by one colleague of “repeating Hamas propaganda.”)

When the end of his role on The Five was announced last week, Rivera acknowledged that “being odd man out isn’t always easy,” later telling the Associated Press that he felt “a growing tension that goes beyond editorial differences and personal annoyances and gripes.” In the AP interview, Rivera said it was his choice to leave The Five, despite later tweeting that he had been “fired” from the show. Though he added in the interview that Fox brass “didn’t race after me to say, ‘Geraldo, please come back.’” (In a Thursday statement to the Daily Beast, a Fox News spokesperson said, “We reached an amicable conclusion with Geraldo over the past few weeks and look forward to celebrating him tomorrow on…his last appearance on the network.”)

During his Friday farewell, Rivera snuck in one more opinion sure to rile the average Fox News viewer: The Thursday Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action, he argued, will negatively affect many people of color pursuing higher education. Referring to his time in a Columbia Journalism School program, Rivera explained that he “was a product of affirmative action over a half-a-century ago.”

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