George H. W. Bush has issued a formal apology after two actresses came forward with allegations of sexual assault against the former president.
On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Using the trending hashtag #metoo, Turn: Washington Spies actress Heather Lind wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post that a wheelchair-bound Bush groped her from behind and cracked an inappropriate joke as she posed for a group photo with the ex-commander-in-chief.
The actress noted that the incident took place when she met Bush in 2014 during a promo event for her AMC series. Lind, who played the character of Anna Strong in the historical drama, also claims that the former president's wife Barbara Bush had also witnessed the incident.
She claims that her co-stars were aware of the said assault because she had told them and decided to come forward now thanks to the multiple brave women who have spoken up about their experiences of sexual harassment.
Bush's office responded to the sexual assault allegations with an official statement stating that Bush, who served as the 41st President of the United States, would not "intentionally cause anyone distress" and apologized to the actress for offending her with his humor.
On behalf of Bush, his spokesman, Jim McGrath, later released a lengthy statement admitting that the ex-president had touched the actress.
"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," McGrath said. "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."
The spokesman goes on to say that while some may see Bush's actions as innocent, others may find it inappropriate and apologized to all those offended by the former president's antics.
Echoing Lind's allegations, another actress came forth on Wednesday, Oct. 25, with allegations of sexual misconduct against Bush alleging a similar incident. New York-based actress Jordana Grolnick told Deadspin that in August 2016, she was working on a production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame in Maine, close to Bush's family compound, and during the show's intermission, the former president came backstage and inappropriately grabbed her while posing for a picture.
Like Lind, Grolnick alleged that Bush cracked a dirty joke just as he groped her from behind.
"He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, 'Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?' As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, 'David Cop-a-Feel!,'" she said.
Dozens of women have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and misconduct in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal after New York Times published an explosive article detailing the previously undisclosed allegations of abuse against the producer.