(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 (http://www.perfectstrangers.tv/playgirl1087.htm), 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: http://perfectstrangers.tv/unknowntabloid.htm
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: https://www.avclub.com/bronson-pinchot-1798218088
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: http://www.perfectstrangers.tv/totaltv1993.htm
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: https://perfectstrangersreviewed.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/the-trouble-with-larry-part-1/
and here: https://perfectstrangersreviewed.wordpress.com/2019/03/22/the-trouble-with-larry-part-2/
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.