Former President George H. W. Bush, 93, issued an apology Tuesday to actress Heather Lind, who accused him of sexually assaulting her during a photo op four years ago — but he did not admit the incident occurred.
What did the actress say?
- In a since-deleted Instagram post, Lind said that she was standing next to Bush for a photo-op when he allegedly assaulted her. Lind, who starred in “Turn: Washington’s Spies,” met the president during a special screening of the show in 2014.
- "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 said in her Instagram post. "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 later claimed that it happened a second time during the photo shoot.
- "And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again," the actress added. "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," Lind added.
- "What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a President really," she noted. "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."
— akpodeebright (@akpodee_b) October 25, 2017
What was Bush's response?
- Bush in a statement acknowledged the actress's accusations, but did not admit any such incident occurred.
- "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 statement said.
What have others said about the woman's allegations?
- According to the Daily Mail, while Lind was offered words of support in the comments of the photo, several commenters called Lind out for her allegations, which they said did not qualify as sexual assault.
- One wrote, "You are terrible. [H]e was 89 years old. [A]nd 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 [sic] in my life. This is just wrong."
- Another added, "Why didn't you say this four years ago instead of now."
- A third said, "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."