George Takei has apologized for joking about sexual harassment in a controversial interview he gave to shock jock Howard Stern last month (Oct17).
The Star Trek actor was discussing the sexual misconduct scandal plaguing Hollywood when Stern asked if he had ever grabbed anyone against their will.
“Some people are kind of… umm… skittish,” the openly gay star responded with an awkward laugh. “Oh maybe… um… afraid and you’re trying to persuade.”
“Do we need to call the police?” Stern interjected. “What are you saying, George? You’ve never held a job over someone if they didn’t touch your (co-worker)?”
Takei insisted it never happened at work, only at home, and Stern then asked, “So what do you mean? You mean some guy who was hesitating to have sex with you and then you gave him a gentle squeeze on the b**ls or something?”
“More than a gentle (squeeze)…,” Takei laughed. “But it didn’t involve power over the other.”
The interview resurfaced after George was accused of sexual assault by former model and actor Scott R. Brunton. Takei has denied the allegations, but he is now apologizing for his behavior during the interview, insisting he was playing a character.
“Many have raised concern over a back-and-forth between Howard Stern and myself, where we joked about me touching men during my Star Trek days fifty years ago,” he writes on Facebook. “Out of context, I agree that the joke was distasteful, and I’m very sorry he and I made fun out 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,” he adds. “But I want to be clear: I have never forced myself upon someone during a date… 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. Non-consensual acts are anathema to me and my personal code of conduct, and I would never do something against anyone’s will, period.”
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Brunton alleged Takei displayed inappropriate behavior and groped him back in 1981. The actor took to Twitter over the weekend (11-12Nov17) to deny the claims.