Actress Heather Lind Accuses Former President of Sexual Assault

Heather Lind stars in the AMC historical drama Turn: Washington’s Spies is claiming former President George H.W. Bush, America’s oldest living president, of sexual assault, alleging that Bush sexually assaulted her while telling her a “dirty joke” in front of his wife, Barbara Bush.

Lind plays a spy in the Revolutionary War drama on AMC. She accused the 93-year-old former leader of the free world on Instagram but wrote that the alleged incident occurred four years ago. She included the hashtag #metoo in the accusations, joining the movement across the United States of women who have used the hashtag to publicly allege that they were victims of sexual harassment or sexual abuse. Actress Alyssa Milana reignited the twitter hashtag following the sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The former president released a statement to the UK Daily Mail. “President Bush would never — under any circumstance — intentionally cause anyone distress, and he most sincerely apologizes if his attempt at humor offended Ms. Lind,” the statement said.

Heather Lind’s accusation of Bush Sr.

In an Instagram post, she posted on October 24, Heather Lind claims that Barbara Bush was present and rolled her eyes after the former president sexually assaulted. Heather Lind shared a photo of Bush Sr. in his wheelchair shaking hands with Barack Obama during a gathering of ex-presidents to help with the hurricane disaster relief. She claims that she does not respect the former president and she felt compelled to speak out after seeing the photo of Bush Sr. and Barack Obama. Here’s what she said:

I was disturbed today by a photo I saw of President Barack Obama shaking hands with George H. W. Bush in a gathering of ex-presidents organizing aid to states and territories damaged by recent hurricanes. 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. 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. 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. My fellow cast-mates and producers helped me that day and continue to support me. I am grateful for the bravery of other women who have spoken up and written about their experiences. And 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.

Recently, both the former president and his wife have been ill. Earlier this year, Bush was placed in intensive care in the hospital after he complained of shortness of breath. Barbara Bush was also hospitalized shortly after that. Despite their illnesses, they have appeared in public events in recent months. Bush Sr. has been meeting with veterans and commenting on the crisis in Puerto Rico.

Hollywood reacts to Lind’s Instagram

Some of Hollywood’s most prominent industry professionals have written stories that back up Lind’s account. They claim that they were there when the incident occurred. Joel Stillerman, Hulu’s chief content officer, wrote, ““As you know, Heather, I was there. It was a terrible moment for you, but you were strong then, and you are strong now. In the wake of all the recent news, everyone who has been proximate to an incident like this has had to contemplate whether their response was appropriate. I’m sorry you had to live through that, and I hope the groundswell of awareness around this issue makes it harder for perpetrators to act like this, and easier for victims and bystanders to call it out when it occurs. Stay strong.”

Other co-stars on the show Turn, have also voiced their support for the actress. The show’s executive producer/showrunner for Turn supported the actress. “I was there. Probably ten feet away. I remember watching your eyes bulge in shock. The cameras snapping away. We all learned what happened about five minutes later and were shocked. I remember seeing you in the alcove of the theater doors, trying to collect yourself afterwards. I think it’s incredibly brave of you to share this.”

Lind’s history with politics

It is important to note that Lind has had a long history of commenting on political topics including showing her support of Hillary Clinton. Lind posted a photo of Clinton with the caption #yaaskween” She also wrote more about politics during the presidential campaign. In 2016, she retweeted someone else’s tweet that said, “Sorry, Trump and Pence. There’s nothing more ‘broad shouldered’ than a power pants suit. #VPDebate.”

George H.W. Bush, a Republican, is served as the nation’s 41st president, holding office from 1989 to 993 and is the father of the 43 President, George W. Bush. Bush also obtained other top positions including serving CIA director, a Congressman and as Vice President.

Heather Lind’s acting career

Lind plays a Revolutionary War-era spy. According to the AMC breakdown for the show TURN, the show centers around “the stirring and treacherous world of the Revolutionary War and introduces Abraham Woodhull who, after aligning with a group of childhood friends, forms the Culper Ring — America’s first spy ring.”

AMC describes Heather Lind’s character Anna Strong by saying, “Anna, a.k.a. ‘The Signal of Setauket,’ is the heart of the four friends comprising the Culper Ring—ready to do whatever is necessary for the cause.”

Heather Lind started on Broadway. Her first role on Broadway was opposite Al Pacino in The Merchant of Venice. She would later win the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut, according to her online biography.

“She previously played the role when the production originated at the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park, where she also starred in A Winter’s Tale. She also starred as Eliza Doolittle opposite Robert Sean Leonard in Pygmalion at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Television credits include a recurring role on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, for which Lind won a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, and she co-starred opposite Sam Rockwell in the independent film A Single Shot,” according to the show bio.

She most recently worked on Jean-Marc Vallée’s Demolition, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, and in Mistress America with Greta Gerwig, directed by Noah Baumbach.

Before starring in TV shows and movies, she “attended Fordham College at Lincoln Center and received her MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting Program,” the biography notes. She was born in Pennsylvania but raised in New York. “Raised in Guilderland, New York, her father was a painter, and an educator at a museum and her mother was a ballet and nursery school teacher. Both are retired,” the IMDB reports.

On a side note, her identical twin sister Christina Bennett Lind is also an actress. She is known for Calico Skies and End of the Innocents, according to IMDB.