Man Who Accused George Takei of Sexual Assault Says It May Have Been 'a Misunderstanding'

Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

On Thursday, the Observer reported that the man who accused actor and social activist George Takei of sexual assault now says the incident may have been “a misunderstanding.”

Last November, Scott Brunton told The Hollywood Reporter Takei had sexually assaulted him at Takei’s condo in 1981. The Observer noted changes in Brunton’s story to other outlets as time went on, although Brunton consistently said Takei backed off after he told him no.

Observer reporter Shane Snow spoke with Brunton multiple times over the course of several months. You can read the full interview here. Brunton eventually told Snow he did not remember Takei touching his genitals that night.

Over the years, Brunton told a few people about the encounter as a “great party story.”

“I rarely thought of it,” he told the Observer. “Just occasionally, if his name popped up… I’d say, ‘Oh, well, I’ve got a story for you!’ They go, ‘Really? What?’ I’d tell people, and they’d go, ‘Ew!’”

Brunton said he initially went to The Hollywood Reporter with his story because he was angered by Takei’s criticism of Kevin Spacey.

Beyond this particular case, the Observer noted victims of sexual assault may have inconsistencies in their accounts for multiple reasons. One is that trauma affects memory, according to a report from the National Center for the Prosecution of Violence Against Women.

“When we are traumatized, we do not always think clearly and cannot necessarily provide information that is 100% complete and accurate,” the center states in the report.

Survivors may also give incomplete or inconsistent stories if they are uncomfortable about the specific details of the assault. They may give inaccurate information because they have feelings of guilt and a fear of being blamed.

“Just like everyone else in society, sexual assault victims know the stereotype of a ‘real rape’—that it is perpetrated by a stranger with a weapon or physical violence, that it is reported to law enforcement immediately, and that the victim is emotionally hysterical,” the center states in its report. “In an effort to be believed, therefore, victims may change aspects of the reported incident to make it sound more like this stereotype.”

Brunton told Snow he would not label Takei an abuser and just wanted an apology for an unwanted situation. Takei tweeted on Friday that he and his husband were “happy to see this nightmare is finally drawing to a close.”

Takei continued his tweets, saying he does not wish any ill will to Brunton and thanked his supporters.

The news about Takei also shouldn’t detract from others’ stories about sexual assault. Only 2 to 8 percent of all reported rapes are false reports. And out of 1,000 rapes, only six perpetrators will be incarcerated, according to RAINN.

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