Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera has weighed in on the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin and blamed it on what the young man was wearing — specifically his hoodie, reports the New York Daily News.
Appearing today on the cable channel’s “Fox & Friends” show, Rivera said: “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was,” referring to the neighborhood watch participant who shot and killed the unarmed Martin, 17, in what has been described as a racially motivated case of overzealous vigilante behavior.
Zimmerman has said he felt threatened by the teenager, who was carrying something Zimmerman apparently thought might be a weapon, which turned out to be Skittles.
Rivera also tweeted about the case, Media Matters reported. Rivera wrote: "His hoodie killed him as surely as George Zimmerman’s gun." And: "Trayvon killed by a jerk w a gun but black & Latino parents have to drill into kids heads: a hoodie is like a sign: shoot or stop & frisk me."
Rivera said on the Fox show that the hoodie has come to be associated with crime. In his Fox appearance, he added: "I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain, should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted. But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies.”
Predictably, Rivera’s comments drew an outcry online. The expected backlash was apparently just beginning, but Russell Simmons was among the first to react. Simmons wrote a blog post on the subject, and tweeted: "Dear @GeraldoRivera — read this blog immediately. white people you will never look suspicious like Trayvon Martin.”
New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted: “Um. Geraldo. Wait. What?! Nooo. Seriously?! Pump your breaks dude."
Here’s a clip of Rivera’s comments on “Fox & Friends”: