Fox News' Geraldo Rivera is attempting to clarify comments he recently made about the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin. On two separate occasions on Fox News, Rivera claimed that Martin's outfit, which he likened to that of "a wannabe gangster," was "as much responsible" for his death as George Zimmerman, the man who pulled the trigger.
On March 23 on Fox & Friends, Rivera claimed, "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman," adding that Martin "wore an outfit that allowed someone to respond in this irrational, overzealous way." Later that night on The O'Reilly Factor, Rivera denied blaming Martin for his own death, but nevertheless advised young minority men to avoid dressing "like a wannabe gangster," because "some knucklehead is gonna take you at your word and the tragedy is gonna result."
In an email to Politico today, Rivera attempted to explain those comments, saying, "I have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager." However, he also suggested his comments were a "very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies."
Politico reported in a March 27 article:
"I apologize to anyone offended by what one prominent black conservative called my 'very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies,'" Rivera said in an email to POLITICO Tuesday.
Rivera said that "by putting responsibility on what kids wear instead of how people react to them I have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager," and that he was offering a "heartfelt apology" to anyone he may have offended in his "crusade to warn minority families of the danger to their young sons inherent in gangsta style clothing; like hoodies."
Rivera reportedly added: "[M]y own family and friends believe [that] I have obscured or diverted attention from the principal fact, which is that an unarmed 17-year old was shot dead by a man who was never seriously investigated by local police. And if that is true, I apologize."
UPDATE: On April 1, Rivera hosted Trayvon Martin's parents on his Fox News show and apologized to them personally, saying, "I never intended to hurt your feelings." He stated:
RIVERA: A week ago, I ranted against hoodies like the one worn by Trayvon on the evening he was shot dead by George Zimmerman, because in Zimmerman's words, Trayvon looked like he was up to no good. I said then that Trayvon's hoodie killed him as surely as George Zimmerman did.
Now, what I was trying to do was caution parents that allowing their kids to wear hoodies or similar clothing in certain circumstances, particularly if they're minority young men, could be dangerous. But I never intended to hurt anyone's feelings and certainly, Sybrina and Tracy, I never intended to hurt your feelings. I want to personally convey my deepest apologies to both of you. I am sorry if anything I said, Tracy, added to your misery.