Actress Heather Lind has accused the former President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, of sexually assaulting her four years ago during a photo op in a lengthy Instagram post on Monday. She alleges that the former commander-in-chief "touched her from behind" and then "told her a dirty joke."
In a statement to E! News, Jim McGrath, the spokesperson for the former president, 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."
The 34-year-old actress, who has appeared on both film, TV and Broadway, shared an image of President Barack Obama shaking the 93-year-old 41st president's hand during the Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal concert at Texas A&M University on Oct. 21.
She began her post, "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 organizing aid to states and territories damaged by recent hurricanes. I found it disturbing because I recognize the respect ex-presidents are given for having served. And I feel pride and reverence toward many of the men in the photo."
Lind then details what she alleges went down, "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."
Lind then claims, "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."
While she doesn't specify what show or what event the alleged incident occurred at however, Lind was photographed with both Mr. and Mrs. Bush at a private screening of AMC's series Turn: The Washington Spies on March, 29, 2014 in Houston, Texas. The actress has played the role of Anna Strong on the show from 2014-2017.
Lind went on, "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."
She says she hopes to help people with her story, "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.
She added, "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."
The post has received responses of both sympathy and ire.