In the midst of allegations of sexual misconduct against him, former President George H.W. Bush’s office released a statement apologizing for the acts.
The statement, issued by a spokesman October 25, acknowledged that Bush often touches the lower waist of people because he’s confined to a wheelchair. In addition, it stated that “to try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occation, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.”
The statement comes a few days after Hollywood and Broadway actress Heather Lind accused Bush of sexual assault. She said that he touched her inappropriately for his wheelchair while telling her the joke in front of his wife, Barbara. Lind wrote on Instagram that the alleged incident occurred four years ago.
An hour after Bush’s office released the statement, another woman came forward with similar sexual assault allegations against the former president. Actress Jordana Grolnick told her story Deadspin, saying her story is “entirely similar” to Linds.
Grolnick said that last year, she was working in a production in Maine when Bush caught a performance of the play. During an intermission, Grolnick said Bush came backstage and the cast gathered for a photo with him. As the group of actors and actresses formed a half-circle around Bush, Grolnick said Bush “reached his right hand around to my behind.” As the group smiled for the photo, Grolnick said he told the group a sexually suggestive joke.
“Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?” Grolnick accuses Bush of saying before he “dug his hand” into her buttocks. “David Cop-a-Feel!”
The joke is a play on words to legendary magician David Copperfield. She told Deadspin that the group “laughed” at the joke, and the former First Lady defended it.
“He’s going to get himself put into jail!” Grolnick claims Barbara said.
Grolnick’s story is almost the exact situation Lind described in her social media post.
“He told me a dirty joke,” she wrote. “And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again. Barbara rolled her eyes as if to say ‘not again.’”
The “joke” is something that others had previously reported on Twitter years ago. They claim he said it during a “ladies luncheon.”