Hold on to your credibility, folks. Geraldo Rivera is "spitting mad." Tabloid television may never be the same again.The thing that's got Rivera so upset is the confession of two Chicago actors who say they lied their way onto his and other TV talk shows by claiming to have participated in sex therapy.
"These people are admitting now to having committed fraud or at least misrepresentation," said Rivera, "and we're going to go after them."
Rivera said he is considering taking legal action against Tani Freiwald and Wes Bailey, who also appeared on the "Sally Jessy Raphael Show" and the "Oprah Winfrey Show." Bailey claimed to be a 35-year-old virgin on the Rivera show and an impotent husband on the Raphael show, while Freiwald played a sex surrogate for Rivera and Raphael and a sex-hating wife for Winfrey.
"It was the idea of going on national television - from a performer's standpoint that's pretty big," Freiwald said in explaining her deception. Added Bailey: "Geraldo tapes at a little studio on 42nd and Broadway, so now I can say I've appeared on Broadway."
Both actors say they were asked to appear by Chicago psychologist/author Dean C. Dauw, a frequent talk show contributor. "He asked me to do it because the surrogates he does have working for him are neither presentable nor articulate enough," Freiwald said.
Dauw insists that Freiwald did indeed work for him as a sex surrogate and that Bailey was his client. "They didn't play (act) anything," Dauw said.
Still, the allegations are enough to cast doubts in the minds of millions of viewers who have had a hard enough time swallowing some of the stories they've heard on television's daytime talk shows as it is. Maybe these shows really are like an infotainment cross-breeding of the supermarket tabloids and pro wrestling.
"We try to check people's stories out as much as possible," said Raphael's producer, Linda Finnell. "But when you have a professional you've worked with before, there's no reason to doubt that professional."
"This is something that goes right to the integrity of the broadcast itself," Rivera added. "I'm really spitting mad."
Uh-oh. I smell a live, two-hour, prime time investigative special - "Actors From Hell" - coming on.