Former Fox News stalwart Geraldo Rivera told CNN he felt “liberated” and “free, free at last” after leaving the network in his first interview with the outlet in 15 years on Tuesday night.
Rivera joined Alisyn Camerota to discuss the latest details in the Trump investigations, but the conversation soon took a turn his former employer.
Rivera revealed last month that he was quitting the network after almost 23 years with the company. He’d been fired from his co-hosting gig on The Five, the conservative cable giant’s most-watched program, which he later said was due to a “toxic relationship” he had with one of the top-rated show’s co-stars.
“You are muzzled, corporate discipline muzzles people, even if, you know, self-muzzlement if that’s a word. I felt… first of all, they denied me permission to go on many shows over the course of my long career there. They have a very rigid, very controlling, kind of discipline,” Rivera said.
Rivera added Fox was afraid of “my flamboyance” and were not happy when he criticized former President Trump.
“When you have that as your attitude that’s your, you know, position and you’re in a conservative milieu, it’s pretty noxious to folks who believe in certain way,” he said.
“I mean, it’s not my belief. I am nominally a Republican person, but I’m pro-choice, pro-immigration reform, pro-gun control. I hope to devote a lot of my post career life to working with the developmentally disabled. You know, I have lots of charity work that we do.
“There’s a lot of things going on. But…it’s a very rigid, very controlled atmosphere, where everyone answers to management, and management doesn’t allow beat freewheeling. They have a message, they send a talent out to do an interview, if it’s a big story in The New York Times, or this or that, they pick their spot. And they’re very strategic in that regard, very disciplined. Conservatives are much more disciplined than liberals. Liberals are all over the place.”
Rivera has not publicly named his colleague behind the “toxic relationship,” though he had frequent and heated clashes with co-host Greg Gutfeld.
“There’s just some people there that I liked, and some people that I didn’t like, and the people I—some of the people, I didn’t like a handful of them, there’s only a handful, they had more sway than I did,” River told CNN.
Gutfeld has this week spent his first night in primetime after moving from late night with Gutfeld!.
“I was, you know, the black sheep of the family. And when I stepped out of line, you know, I was suspended three times on The Five in several months.”
“In fact, I took their money for 23 years. They were, you know, they did everything that they had to do in terms of the business relationship. I went to Fox because of 9/11. I went to Fox because a lot of people that I knew got killed on 9/11. I wanted to be a war correspondent, Roger Ailes, our former boss said I could be a war correspondent.”
Rivera finished with his opinion on Fox and its future after the Dominion settlement.
“The scolding that they got from the public really woke them up. And I hope that they go forward. You know, the Conservatives deserve their own scene, their own network. They just have to be more fact-based. They have to be more professional. They have to be less partisan, but who knows. We’ll see,” he said.