Former US President George H. W. Bush has apologized after actress Heather Lind claimed he touched her from behind while he was in his wheelchair and told her a dirty joke.
The 34-year old actress made the allegations against the 93-year-old former president on Instagram with accompanying photos on Tuesday.
“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,” Lind wrote.
Lind claimed that Barbara Bush “rolled her eyes” at Bush, “as if to say ‘not again.’”
According to the Instagram post, which has since been deleted, a nearby security guard told Lind that she shouldn’t have stood next to Bush for the photo.
A representative for the former president said that he might have erred in his “attempt at humor.”
“President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind,” a Bush spokesman said in a statement to Fox News.
Lind tagged the post with the #metoo hashtag, which has been used by women to tell stories of sexually aggressive behavior by powerful men in the wake of accusations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Lind wrote that her post was prompted by seeing Bush on stage at a fundraising event for victims of recent US hurricanes, which have struck the US mainland and territories like Puerto Rico.
“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.”
Bush served as US president from 1989 to 1993, and was vice president from 1981 to 1989 during the 8-year administration of former President Ronald Reagan.
The 41st president is also referred to as “Bush 41”, “Bush the Elder” and “Bush Senior” to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush, who became the 43rd US president.