Sen. Al Franken Apologizes For Groping/Kissing Incident

Sen. Al Franken Apologizes For Groping/Kissing Incident

A female radio host claims Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota made a lewd gesture while she was sleeping aboard a military plane on her way home from a USO tour in 2006 before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

She also says he forcibly kissed her when they were performing together for troops overseas.

From ABC News:

“I felt disgusting and violated,” Leeann Tweeden wrote on KABC’s website.

Tweeden, who is a radio news anchor based in Los Angeles, wrote on KABC’s website this morning about what she says was her experience.

She claims that in 2006 Franken insisted on kissing her as part of a rehearsal for an act. He later groped her while she was asleep on a plane, she also claimed. Franken was elected senator in 2008.

Franken issued this apology via Facebook:

The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine—is: I’m sorry.

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.

But I want to say something else, too. Over the last few months, all of us—including and especially men who respect women—have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women.

For instance, that picture. I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate. It’s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what’s more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it—women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me.

Coming from the world of comedy, I’ve told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realize were just plain offensive. But the intentions behind my actions aren’t the point at all. It’s the impact these jokes had on others that matters. And I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come to terms with that.

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.

I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.

And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.

Tweeden says she accepts Franken’s apology and isn’t asking for him to step down as Senator:

There are reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will ask for an ethics investigation which Franken has already agreed to cooperate with.

It’s interesting that Franken will be investigated for pretending to grope a woman while asleep, but Donald Trump has over a dozen accusers about misconduct and … nothing.