Geraldo Rivera provoked outrage on Friday when he said that slain teenager Trayvon Martin was partially responsible for his death because he was wearing a hoodie. The Fox News host later revealed that even his own son was dismayed by the comments.
Speaking on Friday's "Fox and Friends," Rivera said, ""I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was."
Martin was unarmed when he was shot dead by a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer named George Zimmerman in late February. His death has become a national tragedy, fueled by the police's controversial handling of the case.
After making his original comments about Martin's hoodie on Friday morning, Rivera weighed in again in a series of tweets. He revealed that one of his sons disagreed with his stance. "My own son just wrote to say he's ashamed of my position re hoodies," he tweeted. Rivera also told Politico that his son, Gabriel, "broke [his] heart" and had said that he had "gone viral for all the wrong reasons."
However, he maintained that Martin's hoodie was to blame for his death. He denied that he was "blaming the victim" and called it "common sense" for minorities to avoid wearing hoodies. He said that he was "reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America."
Rivera made his original comments to Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy and guest host Juliet Huddy. He said that he believed George Zimmerman should be "investigated to the fullest extent of the law" and "prosecuted" if criminally liable, but blamed Martin's parents for letting him go outside wearing a hoodie.
"But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies," Rivera insisted.
When asked to clarify his remarks, Rivera said that he cautioned his own son against wearing hoodies. He explained, "When you, when you see a kid walking — Juliet — when you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark skinned kid like my son Cruz, who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles. Take that hood off, people look at you and they — what do they think? What’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association?"
"Uh-oh," remarked Doocy, who nodded in agreement.
Rivera argued that avoiding certain types of attire was a necessary deterrent against racial profiling. "It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-11, the kid is wearing a hoodie," Rivera said. "You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangster, you're gonna be a gangster wannabe? Well, people are gonna perceive you as a menace."
He stressed that Martin was an "innocent" and "wonderful" kid who "didn't deserve to die." However, he reiterated, "I'll bet you money, if he didn't have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn't have responded in that violent and aggressive way."
Rivera prefaced his "Fox and Friends" appearance with similar comments on Twitter on Thursday night. He had tweeted, "His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman," and "I'm trying to save lives like Trayvon's-Parents Alert: hoodies can get your kid killed."
Moments before he died, Martin was on the phone with his girlfriend. She recalled him saying that he put his hoodie up because Zimmerman had been following him.
Geraldo Rivera's tweets:
His hoodie killed Trayvon Martin as surely as George Zimmerman.— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
Justice will come to Zimmerman the Fla shooter-but I'm trying to save lives like Trayvon's-Parents Alert: hoodies can get your kid killed— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
My own son just wrote to say he's ashamed of my position re hoodies-still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
Its not blaming the victim Its common sense-look like a gangsta&some armed schmuck will take you at your word— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012
Its sad that I have to be the one reminding minority parents of the risk that comes with being a kid of color in America--channel the rage— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 23, 2012