Any growing process is bound to be painful. And one of the more painful accusations to come out of the entertainment industry’s outing of sexual predators in its midst came from a man named Scott Brunton, who said in November that beloved Star Trek actor and social-media personality George Takei had drugged and groped him after a night out in 1981. Now, Brunton has walked back his story in a new report from Observer, and Takei has responded with forgiveness.
In the Observer story, which was published on Thursday, Brunton acknowledges there are some inconsistencies in his story—which doesn’t necessarily mean he’s lying, given the fallibility of long-term memory. But he does say that, unlike what he told The Hollywood Reporter in the interview that broke the story, he doesn’t remember Takei touching his genitals, a detail that elevated the story into the criminal realm of sexual assault. He also admits that he did not meet Takei again in the mid-’90s to talk over coffee, a detail that led some to believe Takei was lying about not remembering Brunton.
Brunton also says that he wasn’t traumatized by the incident:
For decades, he explained, his night with Takei had been a funny tale, “a great party story,” as he put it.
“I rarely thought of it,” he said. “Just occasionally, if his name popped up,” or if a Star Trek reference came up with friends. “I’d say, ‘Oh, well, I’ve got a story for you!’ ” he recalled, laughing. “They go, ‘Really? What?’ I’d tell people, and they’d go, ‘Ew!’ ”
He explained, “He was 20 years older than me and short. And I wasn’t attracted to Asian men.” He added, “I was a hot, surfer, California boy type, that he probably could have only gotten had he bought, paid for or found someone just willing to ride on his coattails of fame.”
The episode itself was “not painful,” Brunton said, chuckling. “It didn’t scar me.”
Brunton says that Takei did take his pants down when he passed out for a few minutes after a couple of strong cocktails at Takei’s house, and when he protested, Takei backed off and let him leave. (Toxicologists interviewed for the story both discounted the possibility that Brunton was drugged, given that he was able to get up and go out to his car immediately afterwards; drugs available in the early ‘80s would have incapacitated him for hours, they say.) Asked directly if he considered that night an attack, Brunton says, “No, [it was] just an unwanted situation. It’s just a very odd event.”
He says he’s “disappointed” about the incident, and wants an apology from Takei. “I felt so privileged to know him [because] he was so nice, and a celebrity. I thought, ‘Well, he could be friends with lots of people, but he chose to be my friend’ ... I just want him to apologize for taking advantage of our friendship,” Brunton says in the article. Takei didn’t apologize, exactly, on Twitter shortly after the Observer article was published. But he did say he “understand[s] that this was part of a very important national conversation,” he bears no ill will towards Brunton, and “I wish him peace.”