Recent sexual assault allegations against actor, director, author, and activist George Takei, widely known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek franchise, has left many fans devastated and confused.
Some Rollins community members are left questioning his integrity after recent contact with him via his collaboration with the Winter Park Institute last spring.
The accusations came from former model and actor Scott R. Brunton, who claimed that Takei had taken advantage of him after Brunton’s break up with his then-boyfriend in 1981. Brunton claimed that after having a drink with Takei, he felt very disoriented and needed to lie down, passing out soon after and waking up to Takei groping him.
Takei fully denies these allegations and claims that he does not even remember meeting Brunton, who said that he gathered the courage to come out with his story after seeing the support for the victims of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
To make the situation worse for Takei, he had made different statements on a radio show hosted by Howard Stern in an October interview.
When Stern asked if Takei had ever grabbed a man by his genitals against his will, Takei laughed and said “uh oh” in response. He was prodded further and asked if he had ever done so in his workplace, to which Takei responded that it only ever happened at home, a statement that seems to match with Brunton’s retelling of his experience.
However, Takei made a statement on Facebook saying that his jokes were not in good taste, but he had simply been playing the role of the “naughty gay grandpa,” a reoccurring part on Stern’s show.
Last year, Takei spoke to students at Rollins in an event hosted by the Winter Park Institute. Dr. Gail Sinclair, the Executive Director and Scholar in Residence at the Winter Park Institute offered a statement on how the situation would have been handled if Takei had been scheduled to visit the campus after this allegation broke.
“All sexual assault accusations must be taken seriously, and the recent charge against George Takei is troubling,” said Sinclair. “Very little about the situation has been confirmed except that it allegedly took place in the 1980s and that Mr. Takei denies the charge, but whatever the end result for any of the recent accusations, the fact that victims now feel empowered to tell their stories and to seek justice is a positive outcome for a terrible situation.”
Sinclair continued by mentioning that the Winter Park Institute cannot say whether they would allow Takei to come to campus had the situation happened this year. “This is a hypothetical question that cannot be appropriately answered without real-life details, but we would have engaged in conversation with upper administration to make the best decision considering specific circumstances.”
Takei is one of many prominent men in Hollywood that have been accused of sexually abusing others, and even Takei himself said that it was an abuse of power when talking about the allegations against Kevin Spacey. It is difficult to tell what will come of the accusations and how many more there will be, but it has certainly shed light on some of Hollywood’s darkest corners.