Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera has apologized for saying that murdered Florida teen Trayvon Martin was as much to blame for his own death as his killer, George Zimmerman, because he was wearing a hoodie at the time.
The comment sparked widespread outrage. Many Twitter users changed their avatars to a photo of themselves wearing a hoodie in support of Martin’s family. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) even wore a hoodie on the House flore, which he faced criticism for (and he was eventually asked to leave).
Rivera admitted that it was his own son who ultimately convinced him that his comments were in poor taste. He said he received a message from his son, 32-year-old Gabriel Rivera, saying that he was ashamed to hear his dad make such a statement. It led to a sleepless night for the elder Rivera and caused him to reevaluate his stance on the matter.
“He had never, ever used language like that,” said Rivera. “It was like, ‘Whoa, what have I done that would make my son say that?’”
Rivera took to his Twitter account to post an apology: “Heard petition demands my apology to Trayvon’s parents. Save effort: I deeply apologize for any hurt I caused-that is not my goal or intent”
Rivera said that he is sorry for offending anyone, but that he stands by his comments that parents should not allow their children to leave the home wearing unsafe attire.
“I apologize for the language,” he said. “I don’t apologize at all for the substance of my advice. I was trying to save lives.”
Rivera maintains that certain kinds of clothing, such as hooded sweatshirts and other “urban” apparel, may appear threatening to some people.