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UPDATE: Geraldo Rivera is taking plenty of heat for suggesting that the hooded sweatshirt Trayvon Martin was wearing was partly to blame for him being shot and killed last month. Among those who've taken issue with that suggestion: Rivera's own son.
The Fox News host says that his son told him Friday that he is "ashamed" of the controversial comments he made on air Friday morning and on the network's website.
"Gabriel broke my heart," Rivera explained to Politico in an email. "He's my oldest, 32, and he just told me that for the first time in his life he's ashamed of what I wrote on [Fox News Latino]."
Still, the Fox News host says he'd not backing down from his comments. "No I don’t retract a word of it because I’m concerned with saving kids lives," he said.
Friday, March 23: Trayvon Martin's death has sparked a series of conversations about racism, "Stand Your Ground" laws, and gun control. But Geraldo Rivera wants to talk about hoodies.
On Fox and Friends Friday, Rivera went on an extended rant about the negative perceptions a hooded sweatshirt elicits for him, and speculated that a change of outfit might have saved Martin's life. Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed while unarmed by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who thought he looked "suspicious."
Citing his own "dark-skinned" son Cruz, Rivera said parents (especially those of minority teenagers) should "not let their children go out wearing hoodies," adding, "I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was."
Rivera contended that hoodies create an instant negative association: "It’s those crime scene surveillance tapes. Every time you see someone sticking up a 7-Eleven, the kid’s wearing a hoodie. Every time you see a mugging on a surveillance camera or they get the old lady in the alcove, it’s a kid wearing a hoodie."
The Fox News commenter suggested that had Martin worn a different outfit, he wouldn't have been attacked:
"Trayvon Martin, God bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hands. He didn’t deserve to die. But I bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way."
When asked about the "Million Hoodie March" Wednesday in New York and Florida, where thousands of protesters wore hoodies while calling for Zimmerman's arrest, Rivera responded, "you're not gonna rehabilitate the hoodie."
Rivera made similar points in an op-ed published at Fox News Friday.
Elsewhere in Slate: Brian Palmer explains how hoods and hoodies became associated with troublemakers in the first place.
Here's the clip from Fox News: