By Ray Sanchez and Tony Marco, CNN
“Star Trek” star and LBGT icon George Takei is denying allegations that he groped a former male model who says he passed out while drinking at the actor’s Los Angeles condo nearly 40 years ago.
Takei, 80, became the latest celebrity to be accused of sexual assault, after a former actor and model named Scott R. Brunton alleged in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter that Takei groped him and tried to remove his underwear one night in 1981.
Takei’s agent told CNN on Saturday that the actor was traveling and unable to respond.
But the man best known for his role as Mr. Sulu, the helmsman of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek, said in a series of tweets that he is “shocked and bewildered” by the allegations and that the “events (Brunton) describes back in the 1980s simply did not occur.”
“But I do take these claims very seriously,” wrote Takei, who said he does not remember Brunton.
“Right now it is a he said / he said situation, over alleged events nearly 40 years ago. But 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.”
Brunton, now 60, told CNN on Saturday that the alleged assault occurred when he was 23 and Takei was in his 40s. Brunton said he was with his boyfriend at a Los Angeles gay bar when he first met the actor.
“I heard this voice and I don’t know if you’ve ever heard George Takei speak, but he has a booming voice and his laugh was familiar,” he recalled. “I looked through the crowd and told my boyfriend, ‘Look that’s Sulu.'”
The trio exchanged numbers and occasionally hung out, Brunton said.
After breaking up with his boyfriend, Brunton said he went to dinner and a theater with Takei.
“It was totally platonic,” he said of that night. “I thought it was cool that he thought enough of me to give me a sympathetic ear. I had no interest in him and he knew that, or he should have. He was so not my type. He was 20 years older than me.”
The night ended at Takei’s condo, Brunton said. He remembered thinking it was corny that the actor served him a drink in a Star Trek glass.
“I had a second drink and then I started to feel terrible, and I stood up and said, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to pass out,”’ he recalled.
Brunton said the actor guided him over to a yellow bean bag chair.
“The next thing I remember is waking up,” the former model said.
“He is on top of me and has my pants pulled down around my ankles and his hands are trying to get my underwear off. I said, ‘What are you doing? I don’t want this.’ He says, ‘You need to relax. I’m just trying to make you comfortable … And I said, ‘No, I don’t want this.’ I pushed him off and said I was going.”
Brunton said he left the condo and sat in his car in shock. He did not go to the police but eventually told many friends about the incident, which he said prompted him to leave Los Angeles for Portland, Oregon.
Brunton said he saw Takei again at a 1994 book signing in Portland and that the actor remembered him. He said he wanted to confront Takei about the alleged assault, but there were too many people there. Instead, Brunton said Takei signed a copy of his book for him and slipped him his Los Angeles address.
Brunton said he decided to tell his story after Takei publicly criticized Kevin Spacey for allegedly making a sexual advance toward actor Anthony Rapp when both of them were working on Broadway in 1986. Rapp was 14 at the time and Spacey was 26.
“When he started in on Kevin Spacey, I thought, ‘Oh my God, the hypocrisy,'” he said. “This is the classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. I realize all that George has done for the LGBTQ community and how he is a pillar of our community but, as you know, people have dark sides.”
The former model said he was amused that Takei doesn’t remember him after their numerous encounters.
“He gave me two drinks laced with something and he can’t remember that?” Brunton asked. “I understand why he is not owning up to it. I was hoping other people who he may have done this too also would come forward. I was hoping he would do a full Louis C.K. and … admit it, but I guess not.”