Senator Al Franken accused of sexual harassment

News anchor Leeann Tweeden says Al Franken kissed and groped her without her consent.

November 16, 2017 19:25
2 minute read.
Senator Al Franken

Senator Al Franken. (photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS)


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Los Angeles morning news anchor Leeann Tweeden is accusing Senator Al Franken of sexual harassment. According to her written testimony on KABC's website, he "kissed and groped" her without her consent.

In December 2006, Tweeden went on a USO tour to entertain United States troops. A number of other celebrities, including Al Franken, were on the trip as well.

Al Franken, a Jewish senator from Minnesota, was a comedian and writer on Saturday Night Live before being elected.

Tweeden says that Franken wrote skits to perform for the soldiers, many full of "sexual innuendo." She was not expecting to perform in the skits, but Franken reportedly wrote a part for the model as well. The script included a kiss with Franken.

Tweeden writes that she planned to turn her head and avoid the kiss during the performance.

Before the skit, they practiced their lines backstage. Then, Franken insisted on rehearsing the kiss. She did not want to but agreed when he insisted, again thinking she would be able to turn her head.  

Tweeden and Franken practiced the lines before the kiss and then, she writes, he "put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth."

The young model pushed Franken away but says she felt "disgusted and violated." She ran to the bathroom to wash out her mouth. But she did not tell anyone what happened.

Tweeden writes that she was angry and did not talk to Franken for the rest of the tour unless she had to. In return, he insulted her.

After two weeks, exhausted after the grueling tour, Tweeden fell asleep on the cargo plane on the way home.

Later, she was looking through the photographs taken by the trip photographer and she found one she didn't expect.

Franken had posed, groping her, while she was asleep.

Tweeden says she felt violated, "Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated." But again, she was too worried about backlash to tell her story.

Senator Franken issued a statement on Thursday apologizing for his behavior. The statement begins with an apology and continues, "I respect women. I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed."

Franken goes on to say that he is asking for an ethics investigation into his behavior.

Franken goes on to say that he is asking for an ethics investigation into his behavior.

"While I don't remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women's experiences," reads the statement.

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York also responded to the allegations on Twitter. He called for an investigation by the ethics committee.

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