Former US President George H W Bush (elder bush) has apologized to American actress Heather Lind after she accused him of saxual assault in a now-deleted Instagram post.
Heather Lind, who starred in the AMC series “Turned: Washington’s Spies,” wrote that the former US President “touched me from behind” repeatedly at a press event in March 2014.
She did not offer further specifics, but said that in her view Bush had “saxually assaulted me,” taking advantage of the power of his former office to do so. The photograph of the moment Lind describes is our featured image.
A spokesman for the former president apologised and described the interaction as “an attempt at humor.”
Lind tagged the post with the #metoo hashtag, which has been used by women to tell stories of saxually aggressive behaviour by powerful men in the wake of accusations against Harvey Weinstein.
She speculated that “countless” other women had experienced similar things, and said that former Lady Barbara Bush seemed aware of what was going on, and “rolled her eyes.”
She says a security guard blamed her for standing too close to Bush. Lind’s post has since been deleted, but is reproduced in full below.
Reporters put the accusation to a spokesman for Bush, who apologised on his behalf. The statement 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.”
Lind wrote that her post was prompted by seeing Bush on stage at a fundraising event for victims of the hurricanes, which have recently struck the US mainland and territories like Puerto Rico.
She said the image of Bush being lauded for his charitable work “disturbed” her, and compelled her to speak out. It is not clear why the post was deleted.
Nick Westrate, Lind’s “Turned” co-star, praised her honesty:
Nick Westrate ✔@westratenick : Could not be prouder of @heatherglind. I hope everyone keeps speaking up and speaking out.
Here is Lind’s post in full:
“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 organizing aid to states and territories damaged by recent hurricanes.
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 saxually 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”. His security guard told me I shouldn’t have stood next to him for the photo. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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”