Last November, a man named Scott R. Brunton accused George Takei of groping him without consent back in 1981. The men were friends at the time, and Brunton says after having a few drinks at Takei’s home he passed out briefly and woke up to Takei undressing him. “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,” Brunton told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he then told Takei to stop — which Takei did — put his pants back on, and drove home. In a subsequent interview with the Oregonian, Brunton also said, “I know unequivocally he spiked my drink.”
In a new article from The Observer, however, Takei’s accuser is walking back parts of his story, which reporter Shane Snow points out has changed at various points since first Brunson’s first accusations in THR. When asked directly by The Observer if Takei actually touched his genitals in 1981 without consent, Brunton responded could not actually confirm the groping took place.
I asked him to clarify the issue. “Did he touch your genitals?”
“You know … probably …” Brunton replied after some hesitation. “He was clearly on his way to … to … to going somewhere.”
We shared a pause.
“So … you don’t remember him touching your genitals?”
Brunton confessed that he did not remember any touching.
In addition to cataloguing the various times Brunton has changed the details of his encounter with Takei, including what state of undress the actor was in when he was allegedly removing Brunton’s pants, Snow consults various sources about the effects of date-rape drugs, and whether or not Brunton would have been capable of moving, operating a vehicle, and remembering the night had he been under the influence of substances like Rohypnol or quaaludes. The conclusion from various toxicologists was that it was highly unlikely Brunton was dosed with a date-rape drug and able to function as he described. When this information was brought to Brunton, Snow notes he seemed less than “unequivocally” convinced he had been drugged by Takei that night.
I shared the toxicologists’ observations with Brunton, who admitted that this made him feel better. He was probably right all those years when he thought he was just drunk. He would still never know for sure, but, Brunton said, referring to Takei, “it makes him a little less sinister.”
Burton still feels he was taken advantage of that night by someone he considered a friend. He does not think of Takei as “a criminal or an abuser,” and wants an apology from the actor “for taking advantage of our friendship.” Takei has maintained there was no wrongdoing, saying in his initial denial that, “Those that know me understand that nonconsensual acts are so antithetical to my values and my practices, the very idea that someone would accuse me of this is quite personally painful.”
Update, May 26: In a series of tweets, Takei expressed gratitude that Burton admitted to falsifying parts of his story. “As many of you know, this has been a very difficult period for myself and my husband Brad as we have dealt with the impact of these accusations, but we are happy to see that this nightmare is finally drawing to a close,” he wrote. “As I stated before, I do not remember Mr. Brunton or any of the events he described from forty years ago, but I do understand that this was part of a very important national conversation that we as a society must have, painful as it might be. It is in that spirit that I want folks to know, despite what he has put us through, I do not bear Mr. Brunton any ill will, and I wish him peace. Brad and I are especially grateful for the many fans who stood by me throughout this ordeal. Your support kept us going, and we are so immensely thankful for you.”