Actress Heather Lind has accused former U.S. President George H.W. Bush of sexually assaulting her.
The American actress claims that George Bush Sr. groped her from his wheelchair during a screening. She detailed her accusations in a lengthy and since-deleted Instagram post on Tuesday, where she said she was “disturbed” after seeing a photo of President Obama with the 41st president.
She wrote: “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. But 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. 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.”
Lind, 34, met the former president, 93, during a special screening of the show in 2014, a week before its premiere.
“We were instructed to call him Mr. President. 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,” Lind wrote.
“What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn’t so different from a President really. 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 said she told her castmates about the alleged assault when it happened and decided to come forward now because of “the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences.”
She concluded: “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.”