FOX News host Geraldo Rivera today issued a letter of "heartfelt apology" for saying shooting victim Trayvon Martin's hoodie "is as much responsible" for his death as the killer, Politico reported.
The letter, which was emailed to Politico today, follows on-air apology by Rivera on Tuesday. The incident comes amid an increasingly racially-charged debate in the United States over the February killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida by George Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watchman. Martin was black, and Zimmerman is Hispanic.
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Zimmerman says he acted out of self-defense. But many believe Martin's death was motivated by the kind of racial profiling that Rivera's comments appeared to buy into. The “Fox & Friends” host on Friday warned "the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies," remarks that immediately went viral to widespread outrage.
In his letter, Rivera today admits that “by putting responsibility on what kids wear instead of how people react to them I have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager,” apologizing to all offended by his “crusade to warn minority families of the danger to their young sons inherent in gangsta style clothing; like hoodies.”
The "Million Hoodie March" held in New York on Thursday, which drew some 1,000 people, represented an effort to counter such hoodie associations in a widening US debate over racial profiling. US President Barack Obama has also entered the fray, telling Martin's parents, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon."
Rivera also issued a defense today, observing to Politico that an unnamed "prominent black conservative" had noted "my 'very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies,'" according to MSNBC.
See our complete Trayvon Martin case coverage.