Fox News presenter Geraldo Rivera has defended Alec Baldwin’s recent homophobic rant at a photographer.

Last month, the actor lost his late night MSNBC talk show, having previously been caught calling a paparazzi photographer a “cocksucking fag.”

Baldwin blamed LGBT media advocacy group GLAAD, describing them as “the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy”, for the decision of MSNBC to cancel his show.

Defending Baldwin on Fox News’ Hannity, Geraldo Rivera said: “That wasn’t a homophobic slur.”

“I mean if you grew up where we grew up…”

He added: “Baldwin and I all grew up within ten miles of each other and when we were growing up, in my year especially, those comments were commonplace.”

When panellist Rachel Sklar protested, saying: “Things have changed, Geraldo.”

He replied: “You have to give people some slack.”

Rivera was taking part in a discussion following the A&E television network’s decision to indefinitely suspend Phil Robertson for making anti-gay comments in a magazine interview.

Rivera compared Robertson’s detractors to the “fundamentalist gay activists” who had criticised Alec Baldwin.

Robertson, known for his appearance on the reality show Duck Dynasty, was placed on “indefinite hiatus” by the A&E network, after he equated homosexuality with bestiality in an interview to GQ.

Robertson had been asked to describe sin by the magazine, and replied: “It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus. I mean, come on dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

“Start with homosexual behaviour and just morph out from there,” he continued. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men.”

The 67-year-old also paraphrased from Corinthians, claiming that “the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers” will not “inherit the kingdom of God”.