Former President George HW Bush has apologized after an actress claimed he ‘sexually assaulted’ her while he was in his wheelchair.
Heather Lind, 34, who starred in AMC’s series ‘Turn: Washington’s Spies’, made the allegations against the 93-year-old former president on Instagram in a lengthy post with accompanying photos.
‘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,’ Lind alleges.
In a statement to DailyMail.com the former president responded: ‘President Bush would never – under any circumstance – intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind.’
Lind said in her since-deleted Instagram post it happened a second time: ‘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.’
The photo in question was taken at a private screening of AMC’s TURN: Washington’s Spies with the former president and first lady in March 2014 in Houston, Texas.
Standing alongside Lind and the Bushes were her fellow TURN cast members Seth Numrich, Samuel Roukin, Ian Kahn, Kevin McNally and Burn Gorman.
‘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,’ Lind wrote.
Her post goes on to say: ‘What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a President really. I can enact positive change. I can actually help people. I can be a symbol of my democracy.’
‘I can refuse to call him President, and call out other abuses of power when I see them,’ she writes.
‘I can vote for a President, in part, by the nature of his or her character, knowing that his or her political decisions must necessarily stem from that character.’
Lind adds that she shared the allegations against Bush with people on her AMC series.
‘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 concluded using the hashtag that has become a viral trend for people to share their allegations of sexual assault.
People were divided on how to interpret Lind coming forward with her own #metoo story.
On person commented: ‘I am SO SORRY that you had to deal with that Heather! This story has really upset me.’
But others were questioning the timing, ignoring the recent #metoo trend: ‘Why didn’t you say this four years ago instead of now.’
Some argued having one’s behind touched did not amount to ‘sexual assault’ so someone posted a definition to argue the point.
‘According to RAINN the definition for sexual assault is What is sexual assault? The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include: Attempted rape, Fondling or unwanted sexual touching, Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body, Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape.’
Although one commenter called this particular #metoo post off the mark.
‘Awards for bravery don’t belong to women who post on Instagram. I’ve been loathe [sic] to comment on things like this but this was the last straw. I’m not denying anyone’s “truth,” and I am not saying that sexual harassment or assault don’t cause most victims to feel fear and shame, but I am saying that it isn’t all the same.’
The commenter continued: ‘It isn’t equal. And if you think this post is going to help the women trapped by husbands still beating them, the women who will be brutally raped tonight, the little girls being turn [sic] apart by they’re [sic] own protectors, you’re wrong.
‘All this does is diminish their realities. This isn’t bravery. This is not courage. To be one of the millions now?
‘In some rooms we’ve been doing it for decades. Honestly, for sensitive people you’re kinda insensitive … just sayin’
Another wrote: ‘You are terrible. he was 89 years old. and has some Dementia and Vascular Parkinson’s. You were not sexually assaulted. You cheapen every person that was. This is not political. I have never voted for a Bush or a republican in my life. This is just wrong.’
The actress has not offered definitive evidence of the alleged misconduct.
What are your thoughts?