Actor and LGBTQ rights advocate George Takei has denied an allegation that he sexually assaulted a young man in 1981.
In one of the latest public accusations made against celebrities, politicians, sports figures and others, former actor and model Scott R. Brunton, 60, told The Hollywood Reporter that the alleged incident happened when he was 23 and Takei, 80, was in his mid-40s.
In an interview with CNN on Nov. 11, Brunton said that he and his boyfriend first met the “Star Trek” actor at a Los Angeles gay bar and the three exchanged phone numbers and occasionally hung out. After breaking up with is boyfriend, Brunton said, he and Takei went to dinner and a show.
“It was totally platonic,” Brunton told CNN. “I thought it was cool that he thought enough of me to give me a sympathetic ear. I had no interest in him and he knew that, or he should have.”
According to Brunton, he had two drinks at Takei’s condo and passed out, then woke up to find the actor pulling off his pants and trying to get his underwear off.
“I said, ‘No, I don’t want this.’ I pushed him off and said I was going,” said Brunton, adding that he later told his friends about the incident but did not go to the police.
Brunton claimed that he saw Takei at a book-signing in 1994 in Portland and that the actor remembered him. Brunton said he did not confront Takei because there were too many people present.
Brunton said he decided to go public after Takei criticized actor Kevin Spacey, who was accused of making a sexual advance on actor Anthony Rapp in 1986 when they were 26 and 14, respectively. Spacey said that he did not remember the incident but apologized, saying he may have committed the act while drunk; he also came out as gay. Takei said that Spacey was linking being gay with being a sexual predator.
While recognizing all that Takei has done for the LGBTQ community, Brunton called this statement “a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.”
Brunton said he is not seeking monetary compensation, just an apology.
Takei posted the following statement on Facebook and Twitter on Nov. 11:
“Friends, I’m writing to respond to the accusations made by Scott R. Brunton. I want to assure you all that I am as shocked and bewildered at these claims as you must feel reading them.
“The events he describes back in the 1980s simply did not occur, and I do not know why he has claimed them now. I have wracked my brain to ask if I remember Mr. Brunton, and I cannot say I do. But I do take these claims very seriously, and I wanted to provide my response thoughtfully and not out of the moment.
“Right now it is a he said/he said situation, over alleged events nearly 40 years ago. But those that know me understand that non-consensual acts are so antithetical to my values and my practices, the very idea that someone would accuse me of this is quite personally painful.
“Brad, who is 100 percent beside me on this, as my life partner of more than 30 years and now my husband, stands fully by my side. I cannot tell you how vital it has been to have his unwavering support and love in these difficult times.
“Thanks to many of you for all the kind words and trust. It means so much to us.
“Yours in gratitude, George”
Alt-right pundit Milo Yiannopoulos, a frequent critic of Takei’s outspoken stands on social issues, tweeted, “I’m taking a feminist-approved ‘listen and believe’ approach to the allegations against George Takei.” He also called Takei “sanctimonious” and “hypocritical” and told him to “burn in hell.”
One of Takei’s defenders is Karen Wehrstein of The Daily Kos, who noted that Takei has been a harsh critic of the Trump Administration on social media: “To me it looks like a U.S. right-wing/Putin co-ordinated counter-op. They see this movement of people coming out about stars committing sexual abuse, and figure they can catch one up in it who is their political enemy. Something like this was inevitable.”
In a tweet that has since been deleted, Takei himself made a similar claim about Russian bots spreading the story: “It’s clear that they want to cow me into silence, but do not fear, friends, I won’t succumb to that. By way of background, when I criticized Putin’s anti-LGBT policies publicly, Russian bots attacked my FB page relentlessly, and we had to develop special security measures and ban all traffic from within the Russian Federation and the Ukraine. I am accustomed to their practices.”
Wehrstein also wrote, “There is only one accuser. That’s a weak case. The Washington Post in breaking the [Roy] Moore story was very careful to make a strong case … by making sure that there were four accusers who did not know each other and who did not approach the reporters in the first place. Their stories resemble each other, revealing a distinctive pattern of sexually predatory behavior. The Hollywood Reporter in its Takei story, on the other hand, is relying on just one accuser plus four of his friends.
“In fact I cannot think of any exposed sexual predator so far, either in Hollywood or the political arena, whose downfall came from just one accuser. [Roger] Ailes, [Bill] O’Reilly, [Harvey] Weinstein, Spacey, Moore, Trump — all had multiple people come out as former victims. This is why I credit them …
“Often with these allegations it comes out that the alleged abuser’s predilections were an open secret, e.g. that Roy Moore was known for being attracted to underage girls. No such information has emerged about Takei.”
The issue has sparked a lively debate on trekmovie.com, an unofficial “Star Trek” site, with some commenters saying that Takei should be subjected to the same standards as other celebrities, and others giving him the benefit of the doubt.