For the second time in 24 hours, an actress has come forward to say that former President George H.W. Bush groped her.
Jordana Grolnick told Deadspin that Bush grabbed her butt and made a joke about “David Cop-a-feel” as they posed for a picture with his wife, Barbara, at a Maine theater in August 2016.
“He reached his right hand around to my behind, and as we smiled for the photo he asked the group, ‘Do you know who my favorite magician is?’” Grolnick told Deadspin. She asked the website not to print the name of the theater where the incident occurred. “As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-feel!’” Bush, 92 at the time, was seated in his wheelchair.
Grolnick’s experience doesn’t sound much different from actress Heather Lind’s. In a now-deleted Instagram post from Tuesday, Lind said that Bush “touched [her] from behind from his wheelchair” while posing for a photo with Bush and Barbara at an event in 2014.
Lind’s post — as well as the recent #metoo movement alongside more than 50 women alleging that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them — helped Grolnick feel comfortable to finally speak out.
“What I’ve come to realize is that if we tolerate these small comments and grazes from men on the street or former presidents, they might assume that it’s ok with us, and they may take it as permission to do who-knows-what else,” Grolnick told Deadspin.
Bush’s spokesperson issued a statement that the former president apologized “most sincerely” for offending anyone — but once again, there was no apology for the alleged groping. A spokesperson issued a similar non-apology to Lind on Wednesday.
“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,” Bush’s spokesperson said in response to Grolnick. “Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate.”
Since women starting speaking out against Weinstein, troublesome information has emerged about many other powerful men across a range of industries, many of whom faced professional repercussions.
- James Toback, American screenwriter and film director: Since Sunday, More than 238 women have told the Los Angeles Times that Toback sexually assaulted them. The company he cofounded fired him on Tuesday.
- Mark Halperin, MSNBC political analyst: Five women told CNN on Thursday that Halperin sexually harassed them when he still worked at ABC in 2007. MSNBC, where Halperin currently works, put him on leave hours after the allegations.
- Lockhart Steele, Vox Media editorial director: Steele was fired Friday after admitting he sexually harassed a former employee, who wrote in a Medium post that Steele — only named as one of the “VPs” — “suddenly” began kissing her hand, arm, and neck.
- Josh Besh, American chef: In the last week, 25 women have told the New Orleans Times Picayune that Besh fostered an environment of sexual harassment in his restaurants. He resigned from his company on Monday.
- Terry Richardson, celebrity photographer: Horrifying stories — like trying to force his penis into models’ mouths and suggesting they make tea with their tampons — have floated around about Richardson for years. On Monday, magazine behemoth Conde Nast banned their magazines from working with him.
- Tyler Grasham, APA Agency in Hollywood: Rising stars Jordan Gavaris in “Orphan Black,” Cameron Boyce in “Descendants,” and Finn Wolfhart in “Stranger Things” said Grasham sexually assault them and fired him as their agent. Then, APA Agency fired him on Friday.
- Chris Savino, creator of Nickelodeon’s “Loud House”: At least a dozen women said Savino sexually harassed them. He was fired from the company last Thursday.
- Scott Courtney, Service Employees International Union executive vice president: Multiple people within the company complained that Courtney was engaging in sexual relationships with female staffers. He resigned four days after being put on leave Oct. 19.
Cover image: Former president George H.W. Bush appears at an NFL football game in Houston between the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Texans on Nov. 4, 2012, left. Actress Heather Lind appears at AMC’s “Turn: Washington’s Spies” season three premiere event in New York on April 20, 2016.