After actress Heather Lind, on Tuesday, described unwanted sexual advances made by former president George H.W. Bush during a 2014 photo-op, another woman came forward Wednesday alleging a similar experience with the now-93-year-old Bush. In her Instagram post, which has since been deleted, Lind made vague reference to being touched “from behind” as the 41st president told a “dirty joke.” In an interview with Deadspin published Wednesday, actress Jordana Grolnick described her experience with Bush Sr., adding details to what appears be a very similar situation.
In August 2016, Grolnick was working at a Maine production of Hunchback of Notre Dame. The former president, who summers in nearby Kennebunkport and frequents this theater, caught a performance. He came backstage during an intermission, she says, and she and the rest of the cast gathered for a photo with him… “We all circled around him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him,” she says. “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!’”
If Lind’s experience mirrored Grolnick’s, that makes Bush’s initial non-apology apology statement on Lind’s allegations look deliberately obtuse. “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 statement said. Later Wednesday, the Bush camp seemed to blame his health, mentioning his use of a wheelchair, before confirming that he does, in fact, grope women “on occasion.”
“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. 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. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”