Geraldo Rivera accuses Fox News colleagues of being ‘into cocaine’ on air
Fox News host Geraldo Rivera joked that some of his colleagues on The Five were using cocaine while the group laughed over a chyron that read "brutal cartel kidnapping."
During Fox News' The Five, the hosts were discussing the recent kidnapping of four Americans who crossed into Mexico. Shortly after the group drove across the Texas border they were attacked and stopped by gunmen, who then took them hostage.
Two of the Americans were found dead by Mexican authorities. LaTavia Washington McGee, Eric Williams, Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were visiting Mexico from South Carolina so that Ms Washington McGee could receive a medical procedure.
Mr Woodard and Mr Brown had been killed.
The kidnapping is believed to have been a case of mistaken identity. A US official told CNN the gunmen mistook the friends for a group of Haitian drug smugglers.
The surviving members of the group, including the mother of six who was seeking the medical procedure, were found at a home in Mexico and have been returned to the US.
On The Five, the hosts discussed Mexican drug cartels. This eventually led Mr Rivera to insisting he was "never into cocaine," adding it was "unlike some sitting at this table."
He then appears to realise what he has just said on live television and awkwardly motions in a way suggesting he wants to walk back the comment or that it was just a joke.
Host Jesse Watters then diffused the situation by saying "yeah Dana," and calling her "Snow White," playing on Mr Rivera's accusations and jokingly accusing another host, Dana Perino, of using cocaine. Mr Rivera laughs throughout the exchange as Ms Perino plays along, claiming she "never got caught."
This all occurred while a chyron reading “Brutal Cartel Kidnapping” and “2 Americans abducted in Mexico found dead, 2 rescued” covered the lower third of the screen.
It's not the first time Mr Rivera has been associated with cocaine. In 1987, he testified to working with the Broward County Sheriff's Office in a sting operation to catch suspected drug dealers. The operation led to the arrests and convictions of three individuals who tried to sell him cocaine.
Hidden camera footage of the exchange was used in special report produced by Mr Rivera, leading defense attorneys for the drug dealers to claim the production element of the sting — like Mr Rivera allegedly pressuring police to rush through the arrest process due to a dying battery in the hidden camera — infringed on the defendants' rights, according to the Associated Press.