In the wake of reports that former president George H.W. Bush sexually assaulted actress Heather Lind, fellow Actress Jordana Grolnick has spoken up to reveal that she too was groped by Bush in an “entirely similar” manner. Speaking with Deadspin, Grolnick said that the former president approached her backstage at a Maine theater for a photo with the cast during the intermission of a performance of Hunchback of Notre Dame. Her fellow actors, Grolnick recalled, had warned her that Bush was known for groping women during photo ops, but she didn’t take their concerns seriously.
“I guess I was thinking, ‘He’s in a wheelchair, what harm could he do?” she said. “We all circled around him and Barbara for a photo, and I was right next to him. 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!’”
As people “laughed politely and out of discomfort,” Grolnick added, former first lady Barbara Bush chimed in with “something along the lines of, ‘He’s going to get himself put into jail!’ to which we laughed harder.”
After the incident, Grolnick’s inclination was to “[laugh] it off” herself. But the #MeToo movement, and Lind’s bravery in coming forward, convinced her to speak out.
“I don’t want to belittle Heather Lind for feeling violated,” she said. “I think I should have been a little more alarmed to be touched so inappropriately by a man who was once the leader of the free world. He knows the power he has, and the reverence he deserves, even while sitting perhaps somewhat senile in a wheelchair.
“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. I realize that making light of the situation was the wrong move. It wasn’t ok for him to do that to me … the comments and assumptions about our bodies must stop, at all levels.”
A spokesman for Bush has claimed that because Bush is in a wheelchair, “his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures.”
“On occasion,” the spokesman added in what was a second apology from the former president, “he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”
In the interview with Deadspin, Grolnick also discussed how her friends and family reacted when she told them about her encounter with the former president of the United States.
A picture of the alleged groping, which was shared by Grolnick on Instagram, can be seen below in video taken by Deadspin.
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Read the full story at Deadspin.