George Takei has responded to the controversy surrounding his interview with Howard Stern from October by blaming his “naughty gay grandpa” persona.
Takei was recently accused of sexually assaulting former model Scott R. Brunton in 1981. Brunton claims that Takei groped him and tried to coerce him into more sexual contact, “trying to get his hands down [his] underwear,” before Brunton managed to end the encounter. Takei has categorically denied the allegations, saying the events Brunton describes “simply did not occur.” He also added in his statement, “Non-consensual acts are so antithetical to my values and my practices.”
The situation then intensified when an October clip re-surfaced of Takei making concerning comments to Howard Stern in an interview. They were discussing the then-recently unearthed allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, and at one point, Stern asked Takei whether he’d ever groped a man without consent. After a period of silence and Takei cracking “uh oh,” he said, “Some people are kind of skittish, or maybe … afraid, and you’re trying to persuade.”
When asked to elaborate, Takei then clarified that this “behavior” did not occur at work. “It was either in my home [sic]. They came to my home.”
In a lengthy Facebook post published Monday, Takei attempted to explain himself, saying the comments are “distasteful” when taken “out of context” and apologizing for “making fun of a serious matter.”
“For decades, I have played the part of a ‘naughty gay grandpa’ when I visit Howard’s show, a caricature I now regret,” Takei continued. “But I want to be clear: I have never forced myself upon someone during a date. Sometimes my dates were the initiators, and sometimes I was. It was always by mutual consent. I see now that that it has come across poorly in the awkward sketch, and I apologize for playing along with Howard’s insinuation.”