- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

“Star Trek” icon and LGBT activist George Takei has apologized for “distasteful” jokes he made about grabbing men on Howard Stern’s radio show last month.

“Many have raised concern over a back-and-forth between Howard Stern and myself, where we joked about me touching men during my Star Trek days fifty years ago,” Mr. Takei, 80, wrote Monday on Facebook. “Out of context, I agree that the joke was distasteful, and I’m very sorry he and I made fun out of a serious matter.”

Mr. Stern was discussing the sexual assault allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein with Mr. Takei last month when he asked the openly gay actor if he had ever grabbed a man’s genitals against his will. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Takei initially went silent, then said “uhhh” and laughed.

When pressed, he responded, “Some people that are kind of skittish, or maybe, um, uh, afraid, and you’re trying to persuade.” Later, he said his grabby behavior occurred at his home, not at work, and that he never held a job over somebody for sex.

In his Facebook post Monday, Mr. Takei said he was playing a character when he made the comments.

“For decades, I have played the part of a ‘naughty gay grandpa’ when I visit Howard’s show, a caricature I now regret,” he wrote. “But I want to be clear: I have never forced myself upon someone during a date. Sometimes my dates were the initiators, and sometimes I was. It was always by mutual consent. I see now that that it has come across poorly in the awkward sketch, and I apologize for playing along with Howard’s insinuation.

“Non-consensual acts are anathema to me and my personal code of conduct, and I would never do something against anyone’s will, period,” he added.

His statement comes after former model and actor Scott R. Brunton told The Hollywood Reporter that he was 23 years old when Mr. Takei sexually assaulted him at the “Star Trek” actor’s Los Angeles condo in 1981.

Mr. Takei denied the allegations in a series of tweets, saying he did not remember meeting Mr. Brunton and that non-consensual acts are “antithetical to my values and my practices.”

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