- Actress Heather Lind accused former President George H.W. Bush yesterday of inappropriately touching her four years ago.
- Bush’s office released a statement saying he had, on occasion, “patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”
The office of former President George H.W. Bush released a statement Wednesday saying he had, on occasion, “patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner,” following public backlash after actress Heather Lind accused him yesterday of inappropriately touching her during a promotional event in 2014.
“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” the statement read. “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”
“Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate,” the statement continued. “To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
Lind’s now-deleted Instagram post alleged Bush repeatedly touched her from behind at a promotional event for the AMC series “Turn: Washington’s Spies.”
“He didn’t shake my hand,” Lind recounted in her post. “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.”
A spokesman for Bush apologised earlier today, saying that it was an “attempt at humour.”
Read Lind’s entire post here:
“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.
“I found it disturbing because I recognise 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.
“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”
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