Bronson Pinchot – a pattern of behavior

(This post was written in Feb. 2020, though I have backdated it so that it is not near the top of my blog. – Casey)

The new sexual assault allegations against Bronson Pinchot fit in with a pattern of behavior that he has exhibited in public over the last three+ decades. He has a definite pattern of invading women’s space, touching them without permission, and taking items of their clothing–all during interviews. He brags about his sexual exploits. And he sexually assaulted a co-star during an episode of The Surreal Life.

This is the evidence I have gathered.

In a 1987 Playgirl magazine interview (, Bronson says:

I think seventy-five percent of the time, it starts out with playful yet aggressive flirting. Even if that means grabbing their behinds every time they walk by and then just acting as if that were cute. Actually, seventy-five percent of the time I just grab their asses until they finally say, ‘Put your money where your mouth is,’ and then I do.

His behavior in television interviews begins innocently enough – acting the wildcard, stealing the hosts’ prepared questions on notecards, as in this 10/1987 interview on AM Los Angeles:

However this would quickly escalate to him invading female hosts’ personal space. Here, he begins an 11/1988 Good Morning America interview by stealing Joan Lunden’s shoe:

In a 5/1989 interview on Public People, Private Lives, Bronson briefly climbs atop the hostess – the joke being that he’s going to have sex with her:

He engages in this same mounting behavior (going so far as to pull his pants down) in a 1/1990 interview with Arsenio Hall:

5/1990, Regis & Kathie Lee: when prompted with a photo of his co-stars Melanie Wilson and Rebeca Arthur, Bronson’s immediate comment is about Ms. Wilson’s breasts. When he is surprised by Rebeca Arthur showing up for the interview, Bronson’s immediate comment is about her breasts.

He talks about the size of his penis during a 10/1990 Regis & Kathie Lee interview. Kathie Lee apologizes for his behavior to the audience, and later in the interview, Bronson walks behind her and starts to give her a shoulder massage.

In a 11/1990 interview on Into the Night, Bronson signals a hug to two female audience members, and then proceeds to lay his body across them. Later in the interview he makes reference to singer Tiffany’s genitals.

Around 1991, there began to be reports of Bronson angrily exercising his star power behind the scenes on Perfect Strangers. A tabloid reports on him having an audience member thrown out of the studio:

There is a small hint of this here when, in a 2/1991 interview on Arsenio Hall, Bronson mentions that no one will tell him when he’s done a bad job:

A minor point, but: in a 2/1991 Letterman interview, Bronson refers to a theatre co-star as ugly:

7/1991 on AM Los Angeles: Bronson greets host Tawny Little by grabbing her thighs:

Subsequent the series finale of Perfect Strangers in 1993, Bronson starred in a short-lived (as in 3 episodes) sitcom called The Trouble with Larry. By every indication, Bronson called the shots on this show. The sense of humor is far more in line with the jokes he comes up with on his own (in interviews, for instance) than what was standard sitcom fare at the time. In a 1993 Hollywood Insider review, Bronson refers to Trouble with Larry as “so much closer to my sense of humor than anything I’ve ever done….”

I’m going somewhere with this, trust me.

Joel Zwick directed Perfect Strangers for most of its first 5 years. He recounted some memories of the sitcom in his 2016 book Directing the Sitcom: Joel Zwick’s Steps for Success:

I’m a “stage firster,” always have been. That’s what I do. I believe in it. It works in most situations. Actors really don’t want to spend time staging themselves. These guys do one show a week. They’re not interested in inventing. Once in a while, you have a Bronson Pinchot, who was an inventor on Perfect Strangers. He was always trying to find something new and something different and something… outrageously something or other in everything we were doing. But Mark and I used to keep him under control. It took both of us working him to keep him under control. The great classic thing about Bronson was, we’re about to do a scene, and he comes storming in. He says, “Okay, I’m going to come in from the door. I’m going to cross to the kitchen. I will grab myself a drink. I will sit at the bar. I would do that, that, that. Then I would cross to the couch.” I said, “Bronson, that’s terrific staging. However, as your director, I need to inform you that, at that moment, all the cameras will be pointed at the couch.” He went, “Oh, in that case I’ll come in. I’ll sit on the couch and we’ll do the scene.”

Emphasis mine, here: It took both of us working him to keep him under control.

During the final season of episodes of Perfect Strangers, Bronson exercised his relative power by sending one of his co-stars off the set. He recounts this story in 2009 AV Club interview:

Bronson appears to have thought of himself as the director on The Trouble with Larry. In a 1993 Total TV article on the show, actress Marianne Muellerleile says as much:

We have direct evidence Bronson tried to direct his co-stars, and softer evidence that he had the final say on dialogue and plotting on The Trouble with Larry. There are countless bits of lewd dialogue in the sitcom that his character says to Courteney Cox’s character, as well as behavior it would be difficult to imagine someone directing him to do:


Forgive the poor quality, that’s Bronson in the white shirt and Courteney Cox in the brown. If you want more examples, reviews of this sitcom are here:

and here:

Interview on the Stephanie Miller Show, 1/1996: Bronson pulls a woman from the audience to sit next to him so that he can pull her close to him and make sex jokes about her, grabs at host Stephanie Miller’s undergarments, and invites her to stick her hand down the front of his pants.

(Bronson’s television and sitcom career took a steep dive between 1998 and 2005, so there are no interviews during this time period.)

July 2005: Bronson sexually assaults Janice Dickinson on The Surreal Life.


When she later confronts him about it, he makes light of it and pretends to grab at her chest. Both video of, and reporting on, this incident should be easy to locate.

In another episode of the program, he attempts to grab and rub his face on co-star Caprice Bourret’s genital region. When confronted by Sally Jesse Raphael later in the season about the behavior, he claims that he did not cross boundaries after the women on the show set them. Raphael asks if he ought not, at his age, already know where those boundaries are. (Excuse my editorializing by including her second question.)

In 2012, in an “Ask Me Anything” thread on reddit to promote his Bronson Pinchot Project program, he brags about “backing [Perfect Strangers co-star Melanie Wilson] against a wall” and kissing her.

In 2017, while promoting a comic convention appearance in Hamilton, Ontario, Bronson appeared on local morning program Morning Live and, when shown a clip from the first season of Perfect Strangers, brags about having sex with another co-star, Lise Cutter.

With the exception of a few scenes from The Surreal Life in 2005, all of these instances are publicly documented. I see a clear pattern of invading women’s spaces, touching them and their clothing without permission, inviting them to touch him, and bragging about his successes – all in the public eye. A claim that he engaged in even worse behavior outside of a camera’s range is no surprise.

5 thoughts on “Bronson Pinchot – a pattern of behavior

  1. I felt prompted to comment on this for some reason. I don’t know. Not attaching my name to it, for reasons that will become obvious, but we’ve interacted before – I don’t mind you figuring out who this is, just don’t want my name public here, ya know what I mean.

    I’ve been a passionate fan of Perfect Strangers since I was a kid. I can’t really put into words how much the show means to me, but let’s just say that as a gay kid growing up in an unsafe environment, Perfect Strangers was one of the few safe spaces I had to come to terms with who I was. And like any total nerd, I developed a strong sense of admiration and warmth for the show’s stars, too (and, in Mark’s case, some other feelings, but that’s another matter). It was partly for fun, partly because I genuinely admired their talent, but mostly because these guys were the faces of something that had given me hope and a sense of safety and belonging.

    On the other hand, as a victim of multiple physical and sexual assaults, I started noticing these patterns coming from Bronson years ago in the interviews and other videos of him I watched. It didn’t feel great, or safe, but I ignored it because I just couldn’t accept that kind of behavior coming from him. I thought maybe I was reading too much into things because of my own trauma, since none of the other fans ever mentioned it (remember that paper towel video of his? I remember fans sharing and laughing about it completely uncritically). And I gotta say, I still struggle mightily to process or acknowledge it. But the evidence is pretty damning.

    I’ve never been a *particular* fan of Bronson the way a lot of PS fans are (I’ve always been a Mark f*g and I’ve had really good interactions with Mark in the past). I’m also not a woman, so his blatant ongoing misogyny and entitlement toward women’s bodies doesn’t impact me on that level (though I will say that most of the people who’ve attacked me in the past have been this same type of invasive straight man). But he was part of a major force for (mostly) good in my life and it does feel like a betrayal that he would have something like this in common with the people Perfect Strangers helped me escape from. I don’t love the show or the rest of the cast any less. But fuck, man.


    • I appreciate you saying all of that. I’ve been trying to decide where I come down on things like this–creators being shitbags–for years, and I think I’ve been lucky that it hasn’t happened with anyone that I’m a huge fan of. (If it ever came out that Weird Al, or Jim Varney, or Jim Henson were creeps, I’m sure I would simply go catatonic for a few months.)

      From a psychological standpoint, any time we see someone with one or two good qualities, we almost automatically start assigning more to them. Good-looking means they make more money, eat healthy, are nice to animals, and don’t cheat on their taxes. It’s scary, I think, at the fundamental levels of how or brains operate, that we could be so wrong. That doing good is no promise that we’ll change into good people. If people who do good are still capable of such bad, does good really exist?

      Sometimes the knowledge is a comfort to me, in a couple of ways. One is that my shortcomings, and the awful things I’ve done to people, are no unyielding bar from me doing good for others as well. And two is that, if people like Bronson can do that much good, how much more am I–a person who hasn’t been sexually assaulting people for decades–potentially capable of? (These two thoughts may be at odds with each other, I admit.)

      There’s evidence that Bronson had good intentions for the work he put into portraying Balki. Much, much later on in his life he’s said that he felt that what he brought inside him–his own childhood trauma of a violent, deadbeat father–reached other abused children, in some quasi-spiritual sense. Abuse perpetuates abuse, and I think we can at least mourn that Bronson didn’t get the parenting and parental love we all deserve. But at some point I think most of us get the opportunity and skills to parent ourselves–and I don’t observe that shift in Bronson, insofar as treatment of women goes. God that paper towel video is such misogynist dreck.

      Whether you want to find hope that bad people can do good things, or despair that good people can do evil things, or even [theoretical third, fourth, or further perspectives I haven’t yet developed], you at least are letting the information in. You’re willing to question your own assumptions, and you’re willing to look at patterns. You have more knowledge at your disposal to make sure you don’t hurt others the way you’ve been hurt. I’m angry and sorry you had to suffer those things, and I’m glad Perfect Strangers was there for you.


  2. Thank you, I really appreciate this perspective. It is easy to try to see people as black and white, wholly good or wholly bad, when that’s really not the case for anyone – and especially when it’s someone you only really “know” from their public persona, it’s easy to treat them almost like a fictional character, if that make sense. And really, I do still have some level of compassion for Bronson in spite of everything, partly because I’m so familiar with the cycle of abuse and how easy it is for some people to get trapped in it. My heart mainly goes out to those he has hurt, though.

    Also, I must applaud you on your tastes – I too love Weird Al, Jim Varney, AND Jim Henson!


  3. The person that wrote this seems to lack insite and seems to be coming from a kind of victim mentality that looks for evidence of their own limited perception.

    It’s easy for me to see (and btw I’m a woman that has experienced harassment and assault) but I don’t live my life as a victim so I overcome… But what I notice a out him from the way he itches his leg in public talking about bug bites or whatever is that because like me he’s a late bloomer he has a child like quality where he never emotionally matured when it comes to social etiquette and he has no filter so what comes to his mind he doesn’t wait to edit before blurting out and just says it. But several times he’s asked is there anything wrong with what I said? Because he lacks that kind of filter that most people have. I really appreciate it because despite him coming off inappropriate which to me shows his lack of understanding of healthy boundaries and lack of a filter (my aunt is like that… He reminds me of her). It doesn’t mean he’s a predator or bad. In fact I see him in some ways as child like the way kids say things bluntly without understanding the consequences.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s