George H.W. Bush Apologizes After Actress Heather Lind Accuses Him of Sexual Assault
Former President George H.W. Bush has apologized for an “attempt at humor” after being accused of sexual assault by actress Heather Lind.
Lind, in a now-deleted Instagram post Tuesday, accused Bush, 93, of touching her from behind during a photo-op while in his wheelchair.
She said Bush’s wife, Barbara, was standing beside him during the 2014 photo-op for American Revolutionary War drama Turn: Washington’s Spies.
“I was disturbed today by a photo I saw of President Barack Obama shaking hands with George H. W. Bush in a gathering of ex-presidents organising aid to states and territories damaged by recent hurricanes,” said Lind, referring to Saturday’s benefit gig where all five living former U.S. presidents appeared on stage.
“I found it disturbing because I recognize the respect ex-presidents are given for having served. And I feel pride and reverence toward many of the men in the photo.President George H.W. Bush arrives for the coin toss prior to Super Bowl 51 between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The former president issued an apology after being accused of sexual assault by actress Heather Lind. Patrick Smith/Getty Images
“But when I got the chance to meet George H. W. Bush four years ago to promote a historical television show I was working on, he sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo.
“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’.”
Lind said that after the event, security staff working for Bush told her she should not have stood next to the former president.
In a statement Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the former president, said: “President Bush would never—under any circumstance—intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind.”
In the lengthy post, Lind said: “We were instructed to call him Mr. President. 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,’ the lengthy post went on.
“He relinquished that power when he used it against me and, judging from the comments of those around him, countless other women before me.”
She said that she told other members of the cast and crew on the AMC series about the alleged assault.
“My fellow cast-mates and producers helped me that day and continue to support me. I am grateful for the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences,” she said.
“And I thank President Barack Obama for the gesture of respect he made toward George H. W. Bush for the sake of our country, but I do not respect him. #metoo.’
Lind posted the accusation under the trending #meetoo hashtag, under which women have shared experiences of sexual assault after rape allegations were leveled at Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Bush has vascular parkinsonism, a rare syndrome that mimics Parkinson’s disease, and has used a motorized scooter or wheelchair in recent years.