Back in November, George Takei, Star Trek‘s Sulu and the Internet’s beloved “Uncle George,” the King of Twitter, was accused of sexual assault. The editorial staff of SCIFI.radio discussed the accusation at the time, and decided the allegations were too vague to report. People like Harvey Weinstein had rumors of sexual harassment for years; there was no such gossip about Dr. Takei.
Scott Brunton claimed that Takei assaulted him in 1981. He didn’t make the claim until 2017, 36 years after the events allegedly took place. Takei not only denied this allegation, but said he had no memory of ever meeting Brunton.
Brunton claimed that Takei had invited him home for drinks, spiked the drinks, and then partially undressed him and began fondling him.
Seeking The Truth
In a masterful piece of investigative reporting, Shane Snow offers evidence in an article in The Observer that George Takei’s accuser was either lying or greatly exaggerating.
Brunton claimed that Takei had invited him home for drinks, spiked the drinks, and then partially undressed him and began fondling him. However, as he retold his story, details changed. He was drugged. He wasn’t drugged. He was groped. He wasn’t groped. In every version of the story, Takei stopped when Brunton protested and even expressed concern that Brunton was too drunk to drive home safely.
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.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) May 25, 2018
Shane Snow needed to know whether Takei was guilty or innocent. He had written a book, and one chapter was about Takei’s fight against racial and anti-LGBT discrimination. If Takei were guilty, he would need to delete the chapter. If Takei were innocent, Snow did not want to add to the kangaroo court of public opinion. Snow spoke “with Brunton, people close to Takei, medical toxicologists and legal experts in sex offenses.” He quickly noticed the pieces didn’t add up.
A. This was out of character for George Takei, who has a reputation in Hollywood for being a genuinely nice guy.
Those that know me understand that non-consensual acts are so antithetical to my values and my practices, the very idea that someone would accuse me of this is quite personally painful.
B, Not only did the details of the story keep changing, but Brunton admitted to lying about some parts.
C. Medical toxicologists said from the description, it was unlikely Bruton’s drink was spiked. Bruton also admitted later he’d been drinking prior to going to Takei’s home.
“It sounds like postural hypotension, exacerbated by alcohol,” said Lewis Nelson, the director of medical toxicology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Postural hypotension is a sudden decrease in blood pressure that can occur when a person stands up quickly and can lead to dizziness.
D. Nothing illegal occurred. Snow described the incident to Ambrosio Rodriguez, a retired senior deputy district attorney, leaving out the names. Rodriguez confirmed there was no crime to prosecute. Making a pass is not illegal, so long as the one doing so backs off when consent is denied. And since Takei was not married until 2008 and the alleged incident occurred in 1981, there was no adultery.
E. The context of the times must be remembered. In the Gay subculture in southern California in the ’80s, one man asking another over to his apartment for drinks was commonly understood to be an offer for casual sex. Brunton, being young and naive by his own admission, and new to California, may not have realized this.
What Can We Conclude From This?
Was Scott Brunton lying, either intentionally or via false recollection? Did he make up the whole thing to get his fifteen minutes of fame at someone else’s expense? Or was his decision to speak held back by concerns for his own public image or personal reputation?
Did George Takei forget a casual encounter from decades ago? He is 81, after all, and a failed one-night stand might be difficult to remember from so long ago. Certainly Brunton had difficulty remembering details consistently, and he is twenty years younger than Takei. Was it simply a misunderstanding of local customs and mores of the Gay community on Brunton’s part? Did Brunton confuse a chance meeting with Takei with a sexual encounter with someone else, combining the two in his mind? He had been drinking.
Two things are certain: George Takei did not sexually assault Scott Brunton, and people on Facebook and Twitter should wait until they have all the facts, rather than rushing to judgement.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.