Geraldo Rivera praises affirmative action in final Fox News appearance after claiming he was fired

Geraldo Rivera used his final appearance on Fox News to praise affirmative action amid the Supreme Court ruling against colleges considering race in their admissions process.

The Fox News host revealed on Thursday that he was quitting the network after he claimed that he had been fired from The Five.

On Friday morning, Mr Rivera, 80, appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss his long career spanning five decades.

“I’m deeply touched, I’m honoured, I love Fox, I love the people at Fox, I always will,” he said. “I’ll never let anyone separate us, but I am beyond grateful for this. This is so deeply affecting, I love you for it, thank you.”

While hosts on the network had praised the Supreme Court ruling, Mr Rivera took another stance.

“Well, I thank you for the opportunity, because affirmative action has just been voted down by the Supreme Court of the United States and [it’s] a very controversial decision that will impact many people of colour,” he said. “I was a product of affirmative action over half a century ago.”

“When the Ford Foundation and Columbia Journalism School got together to integrate the local news teams in New York, there were no Black reporters, no Hispanic reporters, no women, and it was shocking,” he added. “And that was as late as 1968, ’69. So I was selected.”

“I was making news representing a group of Puerto Rican activists, the Young Lords who had taken over some buildings up in Spanish Harlem. And I was their lawyer and their negotiator. And I made a lot of news as their spokesperson. And so I got discovered that way, and they drafted me through the Columbia programme, and the rest is history,” Mr Rivera recalled as his co-hosts wore fake moustaches in tribute.

On Thursday, Mr Rivera revealed the news that he was leaving the network in a Twitter video filmed aboard a speeding boat off Long Island’s Jones Beach as he appeared to struggle to keep the camera steady.

“I’m not going to be on The Five,” he said. “I’ve been fired from The Five.

“And, as a result of that, I quit Fox.”

Mr Rivera joined the network in 2001 and became a host of The Five a year later. The show became Fox’s most-watched programme, averaging more than three million viewers last year despite airing in the late afternoon and not in primetime.

His departure comes more than a week after the host said that his time at The Five was coming to an end as “being the odd man out isn’t always easy”.

Mr Rivera told Associated Press that “a growing tension that goes beyond editorial differences” were not “worth his time” at Fox.

“It has been a rocky ride but it has also been an exhilarating adventure that spanned quite a few years,” he told the agency. “I hope it’s not my last adventure.”

He added that Fox management “didn’t race after me to say, ‘Geraldo, please come back’” following his decision to quit.

Once a supporter of former President Donald Trump, Mr Rivera split up with him following Mr Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election.

He maintained that “under no circumstances do I think Donald Trump should be president of the United States again and that’s an important message I am committed to bringing to the American people between now and November 2024.”

He said that even though the show’s large viewership would make it a prominent place for him to deliver that message, “you can imagine the friction that role by definition” would provoke.

“I’m 80 years old,” he said. “I don’t want the friction. The Five is too intimate a place and it gets too personal.”

Posting a shirtless selfie last week, Mr Rivera, tweeted: “80 year old contemplating retirement.”

In a statement on Thursday, Fox News said: “We reached an amicable conclusion with Geraldo over the past few weeks and look forward to celebrating him on Fox & Friends Friday morning which will be his last appearance on the network.”

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