WASHINGTON — A television actress has accused former President George H.W. Bush of touching her from behind while she was posing for a photo alongside him and telling her a dirty joke.
People magazine reports Heather Lind said in a now-deleted Instagram post that the incident took place while she was posing for a photo with Bush during a promotional tour for her AMC series "TURN: Washington's Spies." Lind appears alongside the 93-year-old Bush, who's seated in a wheelchair, in a photo together at a Houston screening of the series in 2014.
Bush's wife, Barbara, was present during the incident, Lind added.
Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement: "President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind."
On Wednesday evening, Bush's office released another statement saying "to anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely."
"At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower wait of people with whom he takes pictures," the statement said. "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 joke."
"Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate," it added. "To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely."
In Lind's Instagram post, which was shared on her official account, the actress said she was "disturbed" after looking at a photo of Bush shaking hands with former President Barack Obama during Saturday night's Hurricane Harvey relief concert.
She recounted her meeting with Bush during a press event that he "touched" her from behind and told her a "dirty joke" before touching her again. She alleges his security guard told her that she shouldn't have stood next to him.
"What comforts me is that I too can use my power, which isn't so different from a President really," Lind wrote. "I can enact positive change."
Lind concluded the post with the hashtag #metoo, which has been a rallying cry on social media in recent weeks for women to share personal stories of sexual harassment.