Actresses Heather Lind and Jordana Grolnick have accused former President George H. W. Bush of sexual harassment, and he responded by saying it was just a joke.
In a shocking post on Instagram, which has now been deleted, Lind said that in 2014 she met the Republican politician and his wife, Barbara, while promoting the AMC historical drama, Turn: Washington’s Spies.
According to Lind, as she stood next to Mr. Bush — he sexually assaulted her by touching her inappropriately two times.
Barabara saw one of the incidents, rolled her eyes, and said, “not again.”
Bush also made a crude joke that Lind declined to share.
The story made headlines, and while many blamed Bush’s age for his behavior, some bashed him.
The 93-year-old was forced to release a statement blaming the fact that he is a senior citizen with a poor sense of humor for what occurred.
It read: “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke – and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
Lind wrote: “He didn’t shake my hand.He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side. He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again. Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say ‘not again.’ His security guard told me I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo.”
She continued: “It seems to me a President’s power is in his or her capacity to enact positive change, actually help people, and serve as a symbol of our democracy. He relinquished that power when he used it against me and, judging from the comments of those around him, countless other women before me. What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a President really.”
Lind’s post has made it possible for Grolnick, a New York actress, to come forward and share her story.
Grolnick spoke to Deadspin and said she was groped by Bush too after a play in Maine.
She said: “And I’m afraid that mine is entirely similar.”
She added: “We all circled him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him. He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, ‘Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?’ As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!’”
What are your thoughts on this mini-scandal? Is touching a woman’s butt without her permission a joke?