George H.W. Bush has apologized for his “attempt at humor” after actress Heather Lind accused him of sexually assaulting her.
Lind said in an Instagram post on Tuesday, Oct. 24, that the former president inappropriately touched her during a 2014 photo op for a historical film she was working on.
“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,” she wrote in the now-deleted post. “And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again.”
She said Barbara, who was by his side, rolled her eyes as if to say “not again.”
After the event, Lind said a security guard told her she shouldn’t have stood next to the former president during the photo.
Bush Sr.’s spokesperson, Jim McGrath, seemed to acknowledge the incident, although he stopped short of admitting what Bush did was sexual assault.
“President Bush would never—under any circumstance—intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind,” the spokesman said in a statement to the AP.
Lind said she lost all of her respect for the former president that day, as well as for Barack Obama, who she saw in a photo posing with Bush Sr.
“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. 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,” Lind, 34, wrote.
Lind says they were told to call Bush Sr. “Mr. President” during the 2014 screening of the TV series “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” which she had a lead part in.
“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 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 the bravery of other women who have come forward with their stories of sexual assault inspired her to tell her story.
Just in the past month, Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein has been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault, and last weekend, writer and director James Toback, who got an Oscar nomination for writing “Bugsy,” was accused of sexual harassment by 38 women.