Senator Issues Apology After Shocking Photo Surfaces of Him Groping Female Reporter
Senator Al Franken Accused Of Groping Reporter Leeann Tweeden In 2006
Minnesota Senator Al Franken has issued a statement apologizing after a reporter’s allegations he groped and kissed her during a USO tour in 2006. Leeann Tweeden, a news anchor for TalkRadio 790 KABC, broke her silence and told her story of this incident this morning.
Tweeden posted a photo of Franken appearing to grope her breasts along with the story of an incident in whcih the then-radio host had written a skit where they were to kiss. Franken wanted to rehearse the bit and that’s when Tweeden states he forcibly kissed her.
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When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.
On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’
He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
Tweeden states she “felt disgusted and violated” and turned her head during the performance of the skit so Franken could not kiss her on the mouth. She then fell asleep on the plane and that was when the Minnesota Democrat took the photo with his hands over her breasts.
— Leeann Tweeden (@LeeannTweeden) November 16, 2017
Franken issued a statement apologizing for the incident, while claiming he remembered things differently.
I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called on the Ethics Committee to look at the incident. In a statement, McConnell said:
As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable — in the workplace or anywhere else.
This report comes just after dozens of people told CNN sexual harassment has been a pervasive problem on Capitol Hill and has not been addressed in a remotely sufficient manner.
Featured image via Reverb Press.
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