George H.W. Bush offers non-apology for allegedly groping an actress

Add George H.W. Bush to the growing list of powerful men publicly accused of sexually harassing or assaulting women.
October 25, 2017, 10:00am

Add George H.W. Bush to the growing list of powerful men publicly accused of sexually harassing or assaulting women.

The 93-year-old former president offered a non-apology to actress Heather Lind after she posted on Instagram on Tuesday (now deleted) that he’d groped her at a 2014 event in Houston. A representative said Bush was sorry for offending Lind — but stopped short of apologizing for the alleged groping itself.

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“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 representative said in a statement.

Lind detailed the incident in an Instagram post she’s since deleted. She wrote that Bush touched her inappropriately in 2014 when posing for a photo at a private screening of the historical AMC show “Turn: Washington’s Spies” in Houston.

“He sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo,” Lind wrote. “He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side.”

George H.W. Bush then told her a dirty joke, Lind wrote, before touching her again. Then, Barbara Bush “rolled her eyes” at him, “as if to say ‘Not again,” according to Lind.

Lind’s account comes as hundreds of women are speaking out against powerful men in entertainment, tech, and politics alongside allegations from at least 50 women that film producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them throughout his career.

Bush is hardly the first president to be accused of sexual misconduct. Lawyers for Summer Zervos — a former contestant on the “The Apprentice” who accused President Donald Trump of sexual assault — subpoenaed his campaign for documents relating to her allegations as well as those of nine other women, BuzzFeed reported after women started speaking out against Weinstein.

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Like many women who report being harassed or assaulted, Lind said she was blamed for the incident at the time. Bush’s security guard told her she shouldn’t have stood next to Bush for the photo, she wrote.

“What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a president really,” Lind wrote. “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.”

Lind said she told her castmates about the alleged assault and decided to make the story public now because of “the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences.” She ended the post with the hashtag #metoo.

It’s unclear why she deleted the post containing the accusation.

Cover image: Former President George H.W. Bush, left, receives a tri-corner hat from actress Heather Lind, right, at a private screening of the AMC series “Turn” on Saturday, March, 29, 2014, in Houston, Texas.