The accusations leveled against Harvey Weinstein have forced people in every industry to deal with long simmering allegations of sexual harassment and assault, but few cultures are more infamous for a high toleration of inappropriate behavior than the political one, and chickens are coming home to roost there too. Case in point, actress Heather Lind of Turn: Washington’s Spies has accused former President George H.W. Bush of inappropriately touching her from behind.
In a since-deleted Instagram post, Lind went into detail about meeting Bush Sr. four years ago, when he groped her and made an off color remark. In her words:[lborder]
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.
Bush Sr. apologized for the incident via a spokesperson, who 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.”
— Brooke Singman (@BrookeSingman) October 25, 2017
Lind’s account was confirmed by a few witnesses, including chief Hulu content officer Joel Stillerman, who wrote: “As you know, Heather, I was there. It was a terrible moment for you, but you were strong then, and you are strong now.” Turn showrunner Craig Silverstein commented on Lind’s post: “I was there. Probably ten feet away. I remember watching your eyes bulge in shock. The cameras snapping away. We all learned what happened about five minutes later and were shocked. I remember seeing you in the alcove of the theater doors, trying to collect yourself afterwards. I think it’s incredibly brave of you to share this.”