Former Star Trek actor and gay rights icon George Takei is the most recent in a long string of powerful entertainment industry figures to be accused of sexual harassment. Takei’s accuser, a former actor and model named Scott Brunton, claims that Takei drugged Brunton’s drink while the two chatted at Takei’s condo after a night out in 1981. Takei denied the allegations in a Facebook post–but one specific exchange in George Takei’s Howard Stern interview from just a few months ago has cast doubt on those denials.
Brunton’s allegations were first published by The Hollywood Reporter. According to their interview, Brunton “felt very disoriented and dizzy” while having the drink, passed out after sitting down in a “giant yellow beanbag chair,” and awoke to find his pants down and Takei grabbing at him:
The next thing I remember I was coming to and he had my pants down around my ankles and he was groping my crotch and trying to get my underwear off and feeling me up at the same time, trying to get his hands down my underwear. I came to and said, ‘What are you doing?!’ I said, ‘I don’t want to do this.’ He goes, ‘You need to relax. I am just trying to make you comfortable. Get comfortable.’ And I said, ‘No. I don’t want to do this.’ And I pushed him off and he said, ‘OK, fine.’ And I said I am going to go and he said, ‘If you feel you must. You’re in no condition to drive.’ I said, ‘I don’t care I want to go.’ So I managed to get my pants up and compose myself and I was just shocked. I walked out and went to my car until I felt well enough to drive home, and that was that.
Shortly after THR published its interview with Brunton, Takei took to his Facebook page and wrote a message for his more than ten million fans. Takei claimed he was “shocked and bewildered” by Brunton’s allegations, which he said “simply did not occur”:
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,
However, as the Huffington Post first reported in the wake of the above response, George Takei’s Howard Stern interview from this past October covered the recent wave of sexual harassment allegations sweeping through Hollywood, and involved some direct questions about Takei’s own behavior.
Here’s the relevant clip from Takei’s appearance on the October 16th episode of The Howard Stern Show which as of this writing is still available on YouTube. In the event that this particular clip is removed in the future and not available elsewhere, we’ve paired it with a full transcript of the relevant remarks, which you’ll find below the embed:
HOWARD STERN: With this Harvey Weinstein thing in the news, of course all over the news–
GEORGE TAKEI: Yes.
HOWARD: The irony is, we have a man in the White House–
HOWARD: –who talked about grabbing pussies. There is an irony about all of this, is there not, George?
GEORGE: Well, it’s a repetition, you know. Because–
HOWARD: All your years involved with cock, you never hassled anybody, or grabbed their cock–
ROBIN QUIVERS: You never grabbed anybody by the cock.
HOWARD: Yeah. Did you ever grab anyone by the cock against their will?
HOWARD AND ROBIN: Uh-oh. (Laughter.)
HOWARD: Oh, no. Well, they were different times.
ROBIN: Held them captive, or something?
HOWARD: You never sexually harassed anybody?
HOWARD: Have you?
GEORGE (Laughter): Uh, it’s…some people that are kind of, um…skittish. Or maybe, uh, afraid. And you’re trying to persuade. But, you know–
HOWARD: Do we need to call the police?
ROBIN: What is he saying, Howard?
HOWARD: What are you saying, George? In other words, there were times–but you never held a job over someone, if they didn’t give you cock.
GEORGE: No, no, no, no, I never did that. No.
HOWARD: I see.
GEORGE: And that’s what this is all about.
ROBIN: But these are at-work situations, though?
GEORGE: It’s about–it’s not about sex. It’s about power.
ROBIN: I see.
GEORGE: It’s about power.
ROBIN: But you didn’t do this grabbing at work?
GEORGE: Oh no, no, it wasn’t at work.
ROBIN: Oh, good. (Laughter.)
GEORGE: It was either in my home–
ROBIN: Oh, okay.
GEORGE: –they came to my home.
ROBIN: Well, that was an open invitation. (Laughter)
HOWARD: Right. So, what do you mean–like, you’d meet some guy who was hesitating to have sex with you, and you gave him a gentle, uh, uh, squeeze on the balls, or something?
GEORGE: …more than a gentle. (Laughter.) But it wasn’t–it didn’t involve power, over the other. And, and, or–or, the Trump guy, that’s about power. And–you know, this is a big issue today, but, I don’t think that’s…
HOWARD: Were you ever on the set of Star Trek, and let’s say one of the extras who was playing a Klingon, would you ever force him to blow you, or anything like that?
GEORGE: To be specific, a Klingon?
GEORGE: A Starfleet, uh–
ROBIN: Officer? (Laughter.)
HOWARD: A Starfleet officer blew you?
GEORGE: Not–not officer.
HOWARD: Oh. A Starfleet–someone under your command blew you?
GEORGE: In the script, it was someone under my command.
HOWARD: Really? Is that right? So while you were working on Star Trek, someone under your command blew you.
GEORGE: But his job wasn’t determined by my decision.
HOWARD: Right. I understand. In other words, it wasn’t sexual harassment.
GEORGE: It was consensual.
HOWARD: Right. I see. (Laughter.)
(Photo credit: George Takei’s Howard Stern interview via Joseph Marzullo / WENN.com)