It's a scary time we're living in.
As the entertainment industry drains the swamp, no one is safe. And they shouldn't be, sexual assault is a plague that's persisted for far too long. They plucked the plug with Harvey Weinstein. The New York Times published a brilliant exposé, revealing decades of the movie mogul's abuse. Then the floodgates opened: Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, the list goes on and on at an embarrassing length (if you'd like to see the list, here it is).
Earlier this month the Hollywood Reporter broke the news that former Star Trek: TOS and social media magnate, George Takei, has joined the infamous ranks of male celebrities accused of sexual assault. A former model, Scott R. Brunton, accused Takei of groping him in Takei's own home. Takei's responded the very next day through twitter, saying, "I want to assure you all that I am as shocked and bewildered at the claims as you are reading them..."
He goes on to completely deny Scott R. Bruton's claims, saying, "The events he describes back in the 1980s simply did not occur, and I do not know why he has claimed them now."
The second part of the tweet raises a lot of red flags, "I have wracked my brain to ask if I remember Mr. Brunton, and I cannot say I do." It's disheartening that Takei would try and use memory as an excuse. It harkens back to Kevin Spacey, who claimed he couldn't remember the events that Anthony Rapp described in Buzzfeed's article. The difference being that Kevin Spacey never denied, so much as he said he was just drunk and gay (you know us drunk gays, we can't not sexually assault people!). Meanwhile, Takei has completely denied anything of the sort.
Unfortunately, his handling of these allegations doesn't help the social media star's case. First, we have Takei's recent Howard Stern interview (which seems to have been taken down), where he responded to one of Stern's questions with, "Some people are kind of skittish, or maybe, um, uh, afraid, and you're trying to persuade..." After that broke out, he said it was just a joke? But is it really the time to joke about the sort of thing? Especially since this interview took place after the Harvey Weinstein scandal had just come to light.
Takei seems to be deflecting. He doesn't remember. He's shocked and bewildered. He was playing a "dirty old grandpa" persona. Russian bots did it. He made his post on twitter and issued an apology about his Howard Stern interview on facebook, but is that enough? What has he actually done besides say, "I don't remember, and it didn't happen, and everybody who knows me, knows I wouldn't do this?"
Nothing, just like Spacey.
The difference being that Spacey didn't deny the assault against Rapp, not really. He tried to use his sexuality to deflect from his despicable actions. Takei stated immediately that this wasn't true, and while he said he didn't remember it happening, he still maintains his innocence. And, unlike Spacey, this seems to be the only person to step forward with allegations against Takei.
So, no, Takei may not be the next Kevin Spacey, but that doesn't mean he's not exempt from the intense scrutiny the public should give him. He has denied his allegations, but a simple denial isn't enough. We need more from him, because he's been such an active advocate against Trump and Spacey's rape allegations. We need a dialogue, not just a, 'it's a he-said, she-said situation.' Takei needs to take action to not disprove the claims, but show that he's open to changing and committed to starting a real conversation, both with the public and the victim who accused him.
Will this happen? I doubt it, but time will tell.
Shann Smith is a freelance writer, screenwriter, playwright, gamer, and film/TV lover. When he's not working on his columns for Popdust, he's doing his best to create and consume as much media as he can!
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