Duquesne University has rescinded an invitation to Fox News journalist Geraldo Rivera to moderate an academic panel on the Kennedy assassination.
The reason? Rivera recently snapped a shirtless photograph of himself and sent it to his Twitter followers — a move that violates Duquesne’s Catholic principles, according to a university spokesperson.
“The administration felt that Mr. Rivera’s decision to post a nearly naked picture of himself on social media was inappropriate and inconsistent with who we are as a Catholic university and therefore asked the Wecht Institute to withdraw the invitation,” said Bridget Fare, assistant vice president of public affairs at Duquesne, in a statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Fare noted that Duequesne students are told not to post inappropriate pictures and comments on social media.
Rivera was scheduled to host a panel discussion at Duquesne’s Cyril H. Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law in October commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As the host of ABC’s “Good Night America” in 1975, Rivera was the first TV host to air the Zapruder film, a home movie that captured the shooting of the president on camera and was a key piece of evidence in the investigation.
Cyril Wecht, who chairs the institute’s board, said Rivera was chosen because of his knowledge of the subject and historical connection to this piece of forensic evidence, according to The College Fix.
“Geraldo was invited because, when we decided to look closely at the media’s role, he was someone with long experience in that capacity and would also be a bit of a draw on attendance,” said Wecht in a statement.
Wecht dissented from the decision to disinvite Rivera, taking the position that the “selfie” was harmless.
“You go to a beach, there are people running on the streets every day, guys in their shorts,” he said in a statement. “How could this bother Duquesne?”
Rivera took to Twitter to complain about Duequesne’s decision.
Just heard Duquesne Univ cancelled my appearance at JFK assassination panel because of ‘selfie’. Fact I first aired Zapruder film less impt.
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) August 30, 2013
He previously explained that he was drunk when he decided to post the picture, which depicts Rivera tanned, toned and naked from the waste up with the caption “70 is the new 50.” Rivera had just turned 70.
Duquesne administrators wasted no time in finding a suitably moral, upstanding panelist to replace Rivera. They settled on controversial filmmaker Oliver Stone.
While Stone may not have tweeted any selfies, his 1991 biopic on the Kennedy assassination, “JFK,” was widely derided by historians as a deeply misleading and revisionist account of the facts.