Two actresses have come forward accusing former US president George HW Bush of sexually harassing them in public.
Within a week after actress Heather Lind accused Bush Sr of groping her from his wheelchair while at a screening, actress Jordana Grolnick accused the former US president of grabbing her in an 'extremely similar' fashion.
Grolnick was working on the production of The Hunchback of Notre Dam in Maine in August 2016, when the incident took place. It was near the Bush family compound when he went backstage and 'grabbed her' while taking a picture, reported The Washington Post.
"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!’” pic.twitter.com/NTbUSEAnF0
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) October 26, 2017
“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!’” Grolnick said.
Grolnick, a New York actress, narrated the incident to Deadspin. "We all circled around him and (former first lady) Barbara (Bush) for a photo, and I was right next to him,” she said, adding, “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!’"
The incident is "entirely similar" to what Lind had described earlier this week. Lind, 34, said that the incident occurred four years ago at an event to promote the TV series Turn: Washington's Spies, according to the Daily Mail, which saved a screenshot of a lengthy Instagram post she wrote and later deleted.
It is the latest in an outpouring of sexual harassment allegations against powerful male figures in entertainment, fashion, and finance that followed the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who stands accused of assaulting and raping actresses.
Lind added she decided to share her story after seeing Bush Sr, 93, appear onstage at a benefit concert to raise money for victims of the hurricane-ravaged southern United States and the Caribbean.
"I found it disturbing because I recognise the respect ex-presidents are given for having served," Lind wrote.
"But when I got the chance to meet George HW 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,' she added.
Later on, as pictures were being taken, Bush repeated the act, while "Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say 'not again'."
A Bush spokesman apologised to Lind for the former president's "attempt at humor".
"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," a statement from Bush's office read.
"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 apologises most sincerely," the statement added.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath earlier told The Associated Press in a statement: "President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologises if his attempt at humor offended Lind."
No apology has been released to Grolnick as yet.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 26, 2017 10:35:37 IST