Second Accuser Says Bush Sr. Groped Her as Ex-Prez Claims It Was Meant to Be 'Good-Natured'
A second woman has accused George H.W. Bush of groping her in recent years.
Actress Jordana Grolnick told Deadspin that the former president groped her during a photo op in August 2016 while backstage at a Maine theater.
Grolnick's claim came shortly after fellow actress Heather Lind wrote a since-deleted post on Instagram about a similar incident from early 2014.
"I got sent the Heather Lind story by many people this morning," Grolnick told the site. "And I’m afraid that mine is entirely similar."
Grolnick said the incident occurred as she and others gathered around former first lady Barbara Bush following a production of the Hunchback of Notre Dame in Maine, where the Bushes have their summer compound.
"I was right next to him," she says. "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?'"
Grolnick said she became the physical punchline of the former president's joke.
"As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-Feel!'" Grolnick recalled.
In response to both women's accusations, a rep for the former president released the following statement:
"At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures.
"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 manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely."
As news broke Wednesday of Grolnick's allegations, sexual harassment claims were being leveled at another powerful man, this time one whose job is to keep tabs on politicians like Bush.
Veteran journalist Mark Halperin stepped down from his roles at NBC and MSNBC this week after it was reported that five different women accused the political analyst of sexual harassment while he was working at ABC.
"During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me," Halperin said in a statement to CNN. "I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain."
The 52-year-old went on to say he is "deeply sorry."
"I apologize. Under the circumstances, I'm going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation," Halperin said.
If these women's accusations come at what feels like a flashpoint for sexual assault allegations against high-profile men, the controversy surrounding Harvey Weinstein was the fuse.
Since The New York Times' now-infamous Oct. 5 report, dozens of women have come forward with accusations against the disgraced Hollywood mogul, many of them celebrities in their own right. These include actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of rape.
A rep for the producer said: "Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."