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Sexual Assault Allegation Against George Takei Collapses Under Scrutiny

Star Trek actor is a victim of #MeToo overreach.

TakeiRishi Deka/ZUMA Press/NewscomScott Brunton, the man who accused George Takei of drugging and sexually assaulting him in 1981, almost certainly wasn't drugged, changed key details of his story, and told at least one outright lie to The Hollywood Reporter, where Brunton's allegations first appeared last November.

That's according to an exhaustively researched Observer piece by the author Shane Snow. Snow writes that "this story needs to be recast significantly," in light of the information he learned from Brunton during hours of conversation. It seems fairly clear that Takei's name should appear on the small but not-to-be-overlooked list of men who have come under false suspicion during the #MeToo era.

Brunton had claimed he met Takei at a gay bar in 1981. Takei consoled Brunton, who was 24 at the time, after the latter had broken up with his boyfriend. Brunton accompanied the veteran Star Trek actor back to his home one night after a dinner where he drank wine. Brunton consumed two drinks at Takei's home and then felt "disoriented and dizzy," he told THR. He passed out in a bean bag chair. When he came to, Takei had pulled down his pants and was groping his crotch. Brunton rebuffed him and drove home.

Brunton also told THR that he sought Takei out during the actor's book tour a decade later, intending to confront him about what had happened. The pair got together for coffee, but Brunton couldn't bring himself to mention the incident.

On Twitter, the now 80-year-old Takei wrote that he was "shocked and bewildered" by the accusation, and did not remember Brunton at all.

That seems infinitely more plausible, now that we know the coffee meeting didn't actually take place:

In one of our interviews, Brunton admitted that the coffee meeting never occurred. He said he actually just called Takei's room through the hotel switchboard, and the actor had told him they could chat at a signing event for his autobiography, To the Stars.

When Brunton got to the front of the line of fans, though, he "chickened out" and did not confront him about their encounter.

After Brunton told his story to THR, some people on Twitter suggested that perhaps he had been drugged by Takei. This quickly became part of Brunton's tale. Shortly after the THR piece, Brunton told The Oregonian, "I know unequivocally he spiked my drink."

But that seems highly doubtful:

"The most likely cause is not drug-related," said Lewis Nelson, the director of medical toxicology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. "It sounds like postural hypotension, exacerbated by alcohol." Postural hypotension is a sudden decrease in blood pressure that can occur when a person stands up quickly—and can make one dizzy enough to pass out even without alcohol. Brunton had made it clear to me, twice, that dizziness hit him only when he stood up.

The kind of date-rape drugs that would have been available in 1981 should have completely incapacitated Brunton for hours, according to Snow. He wouldn't have been able to drive home shortly thereafter.

Takei still could have assaulted Brunton, even if he hadn't drugged him. But despite initially claiming that Takei groped his crotch, Brunton didn't mention any inappropriate touching when he was interviewed by CNN. He told Snow that did not remember being actually groped by Takei. And whatever was happening—what Takei wanted to happen—came to an abrupt halt as soon as Brunton said no.

Snow is extremely careful and measured in his analysis of the story. But it certainly looks like the evidence of predatory behavior on Takei's part just doesn't exist, and Brunton's embellishments cast doubt on whether his memory his reliable.

Reacting to Snow's story, Takei tweeted that he was grateful "this nightmare is finally drawing to a close." He noted that he bears Brunton no ill will, and understands "this was part of a very important national conversation that we as a society must have, painful as it might be."

That national conversation is important, and it's thanks to the brave men and women of the #MeToo movement that abusive creeps like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are finally being held accountable for their actions. But those men were brought down by painstakingly well-reported journalism, and will face justice (or in the case of Cosby, already has faced justice) after being afforded due process under the law. The Takei incident is a reminder that not all victims tell the truth, and it's important to carefully vet the facts before ultimate judgment is rendered.

Photo Credit: Rishi Deka/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    This is a relief. I don't know if I could handle yet another progressive, anti-Drumpf man being a sexual abuser.

  • Sevo||

    "Morgan Freeman accused of sexual harassment by eight women"
    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018
    /may/24/morgan-freeman-sexual-
    harassment-accusations-claims-women

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Noooooooooooooo! I refuse to believe your predictably incorrectly formatted link!

  • Sevo||

    "Morgan Freeman endorses Clinton"
    https://www.cnn.com/2016/02/19/
    politics/morgan-freeman-hillary
    -clinton-ad/index.html

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    I don't know if you want to use it, but here's the HTML for link-in-text:

    < a href="link" > text < /a >

    Remove spaces around the greater-than and lesser-than symbols. You have to leave the space between "a" and "href", though.

    For italics:

    < i > text < /i >

    For boldface:

    < b > text < /b >

    For blockquote:

    < blockquote > text < /blockquote >

    For strikethough:

    < s > text < /s >

    Again, remove spaces around the greater-than and lesser-than symbols.

  • Sevo||

    Telcontar the Wanderer|5.25.18 @ 11:44PM|#
    "I don't know if you want to use it, but here's the HTML for link-in-text:"

    I do appreciate the info, and I have learned the techniques and then forgotten them several times; it ain't my first rodeo, and the rodeos have gone on long enough that I should not have to do that.
    But to be honest, Reason needs to spend some money to allow random links (and pay for a server where the goddam post doesn't jump up and down. Did you read that, Welsh?)
    So, my contributio

  • Sevo||

    So, Welsh, fuck you after the sever puked again:
    My contribution to reason formerly put me in some club or other. Now it is exactly $0.00, and will remain so as long as Welsh is more interested in junkets that the web site.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Yes, the Reason website is a fun and exciting maze of ways to accidentally click, swipe or submit something you didn't mean to.

    Anyway, if you ever want me to resubmit the HTML instructions for you, just ask: I have OCD, so I'm not like to forget.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Add Reason's anti-Shatner biases to the list of complaints.

  • Longtobefree||

    Wait. The accuser is always right, and must be believed regardless of the facts. If that is true when the accuser is (or wants to be) female, than equal protection of the kangaroo court clause requires that a male accuser also be believed regardless of facts. As long as the accused is (or wants to be) male, then he is guilty; period.

  • Hank Ferrous||

    Exactly. The facts are a homophobic transphobic misogynist attack by the patriarchy on brown bodies. Or something. Plus, if Takei were innocent, what of it? He's of the sort that believes better 9 innocent wrongly sentenced than 1 guilty special caste be inconvenienced.

  • Jay Dubya||

    towards the end of the article robby cites they actually pull out the old "the innocent are guilty too" canard.

    One activist I interviewed while writing this story told me, "If good people like George Takei get mistakenly swept up in the net of #MeToo, perhaps that's a sacrifice they should be willing to make for the cause"

    This terrifying rationalization reminds me a bit of what I used to hear from supporters of the death penalty when confronted w/ overwhelming proof of a death row inmates factual innocence: "he may not have done this crime, but he did *something* or else he wouldnt be there".

    plus the magical, uncited statistics make a cameo:

    Experts estimate that only 3 to 5 percent of sexual assault accusations turn out to be untrue, while only 1 in 1,000 accused rapists end up in jail.

  • Jerryskids||

    That national conversation is important, and it's thanks to the brave men and women of the #MeToo movement that abusive creeps like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are finally being held accountable for their actions.

    To be sure, you are guilty of imposing your own morality on these people - Hollywood culture is well-known as the sort of culture where rape and prostitution take many forms, and hedonism, debauchery and gross assaults on decency and morality as the white Judeo-Christian patriarchy that oppresses middle America sees it are considered normal. It is simply unacceptable in this day and age to impose your cultural norms on other cultures and you should be shamed and ostracized from decent company for failing to recognize your transgression in othering these fine people.

  • Jay Dubya||

    its hard to understand where youre going with this comment, but it really sounds like youre saying that being against rape is the same thing as moral relativism? or that people who are moral relativists and also against rape are hypocrites? and there seems to be some implied political or religious point (like hollywood liberals are all moral relativists)? its all very confusing for those of us without your obvious cognitive gifts.

    you might want to be give your argument a little bit of work, though. i mean it REALLY sounds like youre defending rapists from their accusers & doing so with a high degree of sanctimony. not a natural combination. obviously, youre defending rapists for the right reasons - making an obscure point about partisan politics on the internet - so youre heart is in the right place, though. keep reaching for that rainbow!

  • Illocust||

    ...so has this accusation actually been big news and I just don't read the right sites? Or is a gay media darling being accused of rape not newsworthy?

  • ||

    It came along with the general flood last year, pretty soon after the Kevin Spacey thing, IIRC. There had been enough by that point that Takei was just one more, and it didn't make that grand of a splash.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    I did remember it because I've been a big fan of Takei for a long time. He's hilarious and he's a great sport about all the jokes around his persona, and he seems like just a genuinely very nice guy.

    So in short, I'm glad to hear he's vindicated. I'm sure there's ton of #MeToo accusations that are just amounting to witch hunts, or just people taking the opportunity lob grenades at people they don't like.

  • Jay Dubya||

    the thing is theres no real vindication from a false accusation. Takei's reputation will be permanently tarnished. many who saw the accusation wont read or believe the followup. potential employers will avoid takei to avoid the controversy.

    even if you take the accusers most shocking claims at face value, its a bit hard to understand how takei could simultaneously be deranged enough to drug a victim into compliance AND respectful enough to respond to consent.i

    of course we cant take those claims at face value, because they are in constant flux & self contradictory. this is precisely why we have statutes of limitation ... but theres no rules governing paparazzi like the hollywood reporter or the twitter shame machine.

  • El Oso||

    Who gives a fuck?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    George Takei.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Hookers when you get your tenth blowjob.

  • ||

    ^^ This guy gets it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Oh my.

  • Walk_on_Walter||

    Yes, but he has to pay for it, sooooo.... ;)

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Sulu may get off... :dons sunglasses: ...Scotty free.

  • David Nieporent||

    The Takei incident is a reminder that not all victims tell the truth, and it's important to carefully vet the facts before ultimate judgment is rendered.

    No; it's a reminder that not all accusers tell the truth. They aren't victims just because they say they are.

  • gah87||

    Excellent distinction.

  • Sevo||

    Need a 'like' tab.
    In SF a 49er name of Reuben Foster was accused by his GF of beating her pretty severely. The self-appointed SJW on the sports beat for the Chron (local, lefty rag) immediately jumped on the team when he wasn't immediately fired; 'Empowering wife beaters!!!!', and that continued for several weeks.
    "49ers' response to Foster charges is shameful"
    "Question for 49ers: Is Reuben Foster another Aldon Smith?"
    And much more.
    Then:
    "Around the NFL
    Reuben Foster's domestic violence charges dismissed"
    Killion's response whined about what it did to others *making charges*, not what the false charges might well have done to Foster and his career. And she never said 'sorry'.
    Lefties; slimy *and* shameless. I certainly hope his answer to any question from her is 'Up yours'.

  • Sevo||

    "Need a 'like' tab."
    Meant for DN's comment immediately above.

  • A Thinking Mind||

    It's always nice to wait on the facts. I remember on the extreme other end of the spectrum was Greg Hardy, who, through his "posse" managed to ring the bell first and accused his girlfriend of being a stalker and trying to attack him after he'd beaten the crap out of her, threatened to kill her.

    He was convicted and given a 60 day jail sentence. He appealed the decision and got a second trial, and his poor victim just didn't want to go through testifying again knowing he was going to get such a weak-assed punishment, so he was acquitted on appeal, even though it's likely he intimidated that witness into her refusal to appeal. He had already threatened to kill her, and he's a millionaire athlete with tons of leverage.

    For a brief time it seemed like he was vindicated until pictures started emerging showing the bruisers and physical evidence that he'd beaten the shit out of the girl and still somehow got off with no punishment.

  • Sevo||

    That is certainly possible and I do well know that some women are willing recant for reasons which do nothing to advance the 'cause of equality'. We had an SF Sheriff whose wife recanted in the hopes of, what, not missing out on the pension? She was a Venezuela TV 'dumb brunette' with boobs, and if there was a divorce, she'd have to go back to the land of no toilette paper! The local proggies backed him for re-election; proggies have such strong principles!
    But, as mentioned, that hack Killion never admitted she was the gold in conclusion-jumping and then never admitted or apologized for the harm her bullshit might have caused him.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    A gay man is attacked, so the gay mafia swarms in defense.

    Don't worry, the SJWs will successfully defeat Takei too.

    Political sexual attacks for the win Alex.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Kevin Spacey waited to long to call in his favors with the gay Mafia.

  • DJF||

    Gay Mafia? No. Its far more powerful, the Star Trek Mafia swarms in defense.

  • Jay Dubya||

    "gay mafia"? you are a fucking idiot, OP.

  • Eidde||

    I'm glad they were able to find out what really happened in 1981 - there's no assurance that charges that old can always be rebutted.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    I wonder if Pravda only rushed to his defence because he's incredibly popular as a progressive tweetlord, and a de facto figurehead of the left wing populist movement.

    I've nothing against George Takei. He seems alright, although I imagine I would disagree with him on various topics. I just wonder if there would be such a vehement defense of someone whose views did not meet with the approval of those at papers like ҐҢԐ ФЪSЭЯVЄЯ.

  • Mark22||

    They weren't really able to find out what happened, they simply cobbled together a good story to cover for someone who they think is politically useful. If Takei were a conservative, the story you'd be reading given the same facts is that he nearly raped someone and that people should stop making excuses and blaming the victim.

  • The_Hoser||

    So does this also let him off the hook for saying on Stern's show that he sometimes grabbed a guy's balls without permission to help break the ice?

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    I've often heard of balls of steel. Balls of ice -- not so much.

  • Jayburd||

    Grabbing a guy's balls spontaneously is an Oriental thing.

  • Jayburd||

    Koreans do it from behind. It's a "goose".

  • Incredulous||

    "small but not-to-be-overlooked list of men who have come under false suspicion during the #MeToo era."

    WTF? How do you know this is a "small" list? With basically everybody being accused of sexual assault with no evidence these days, I would guess the list of falsely accused is quite large and ever growing.

    As for the accusation against Takei, it never deserved any credence in a sane world. It supposedly happened about 37 years ago and there is absolutely zero evidence that he did anything wrong. Unless there is video evidence of him assaulting an unconscious victim, there wouldn't be any evidence. Furthermore, the accusation of "groping his crotch" is so vague it isn't even clear a sexual act occurred even if he was telling the truth.

    In a saner world, this type of accusation would be regarded as complete crap and ignored. Or even better, the accused should be able to sue and win damages for slander.

  • Mark22||

    Takei's problem isn't that he groped some gay groupie, it is that he is an opportunist and a hypocrite who hid his homosexuality for decades in order to advance his career, only to pretend that he was some kind of gay liberator once it was safe for him to come out. Takei's problem these days is also that he supports deplorable left wing candidates and hateful policies.

  • Jay Dubya||

    this is a very harsh assessment

  • Walk_on_Walter||

    Hold on. Let me find my violin. I can't tell you how sad this makes me. Infinite sad. Oh so sad. Poor George. What a total victim this piece of shit is. I'm despondent.

  • markm23||

    Are you having trouble finding that violin because it's the world's smallest?

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