Embattled actor George Takei has apologized for a recent interview with Howard Stern in which he joked about sexually assaulting men, after the former Star Trek star was accused last week of groping a male model in an alleged incident in 1981.
In a social media post, Takei said he attempted to play the role of a “naughty gay grandpa” whilst appearing on the radio show, adding that it was a “caricature that I now regret.”
“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 50 years ago. 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,” Takei wrote in a Facebook post.
“But I want to be clear: I have never forced myself upon someone during a date,” he continued. “Sometimes my dates were the initiators, and sometimes I was. It was always by mutual consent. I see now that it has come across poorly in the awkward sketch, and I apologize for playing along with Howard’s insinuation.”
Takei’s response comes days after the Star Trek star vehemently denied allegations that he sexually assaulted fellow actor, Scott R. Brunton, in 1981, stating that he was “shocked and bewildered” by the claims and could not recall the incident or Brunton himself.
The actor, who is also a prominent left-wing and LGBT activist, has also sought to blame the allegations on Russian bots for amplifying stories covering the allegations against him. He has since deleted the related posts.
“A friend sent me this. It is a chart of what Russian bots have been doing to amplify stories containing the allegations against me,” Takei wrote on Twitter, along with a picture of a trending topics chart featuring his name at the top. “It’s clear 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 [Facebook] page relentlessly, and we had to develop special security measures and ban all traffic from within the Russian Federation and the Ukraine,” he wrote in another post. “I am accustomed to their practices.”
Takei is one of the dozens of major Hollywood figures to be implicated in the ongoing sexual abuse scandal, which erupted following the emergence of sexual abuse claims against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. More than 77 prominent figures have been accused of wrongdoing, including actors Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, and Dustin Hoffman.