A Fox News debate on race and politics went completely off the rails on Thursday after Geraldo Rivera asked fellow network contributor Leo Terrell “when was the last time you were in the ghetto?”
The pair ostensibly appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom to discuss Tishaura Jones, who just became the first African-American female mayor in St. Louis history. And while much of the discussion did revolve around the pair’s criticism of Jones’ plan to employ more social workers to bring down crime in the city, it quickly devolved into a food fight—as is customary for the cable-news medium.
“I wish her the best. She seems very idealistic but unrealistic in many regards,” Rivera said about Jones’ positions on policing and crime, prompting Terrell to immediately blast his colleague.
“Geraldo, give me a break! All the evidence on Fox News, all this crime is going on in Democratic cities where they basically give the keys of the city to the criminals!” Terrell exclaimed.
“I’m agreeing with you, bud,” Rivera replied, attempting to calm Terrell down. “You can’t bring a social worker to a gunfight, I agree with you. But there is always room for kindness and compassion and these families are shattered.”
Terrell, who recently christened himself “Leo 2.0” after renouncing his liberalism to come out in support of Donald Trump, was in no mood to be calmed. And Rivera’s remarks later in the debate would serve to set him off.
After anchor Bill Hemmer noted that Jones told her white mayoral opponent Cara Spencer that she believes that “white allies” don’t have the “lived experiences to lead a majority-minority city,” Terrell insisted that was the “most insulting, racist comment” he’s ever heard.
“To say that she is basically in a better position because she is Black is insulting, is racist, and makes no sense whatsoever.” Terrell fumed. “I reject that argument!”
Rivera, rhetorically stepping on the nearest rake, shot back: “Hey Leo, when was the last time you were in the ghetto?”
At that point, reality-TV-like fireworks ensued on the Fox News set.
“How dare you say that?!” an enraged Terrell shouted back. “You know nothing about me. How dare you say that?!”
Yelling over each other, the two went back and forth over their shared living experiences before Terrell directly appealed to Hemmer over what Rivera said to him.
“You know what Geraldo accused me of? Living in a particular area that I don’t understand,” he grumbled. “I have been a civil-rights attorney for 30 years and fought against this for 30 years. How dare you!”
Not making things any better, Rivera chimed in: “All right, you’re Jesus on earth!”
Eventually bringing the shouting match to an end, Hemmer let the bickering Fox personalities know: “I love you both.”