Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Broadcaster Accuses Sen. Al Franken of Kissing, Groping Without Consent

 

As Democrats (rightly) inveigh against Senate candidate Roy Moore’s gross behavior, one of their own senators has been accused. TV host and sports broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused Sen. Al Franken (D–MN) of kissing and groping her without her consent on a 2006 USO Tour.

Three years before Minnesota voters sent Franken to the Senate, he performed as a comedian in a show for US troops in the Middle East. Because battle-weary troops love them some Stuart Smalley. Tweeden, a former model featured in FHM, Maxim, and Playboy, was only supposed to be the emcee but was surprised to see that Franken had written her into a skit.

Here’s how Tweeden describes it:

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.

I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.

I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.

For the rest of the tour, Tweeden avoided Franken and made sure never to be alone with him. Franken responded with insults, and later, a creepy photo:

The tour wrapped and on Christmas Eve we began the 36-hour trip home to L.A. After 2 weeks of grueling travel and performing I was exhausted. When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet.

It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one:

Thursday morning, Franken offered a weak apology through his press office. “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” he said. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Franken rose to prominence in the coke-fueled early days of “Saturday Night Live,” so I won’t be surprised if several other accusers step forward. And since sexual harrassment is rife on Capitol Hill, the Minnesota senator won’t be the last to be outed before this is all over. I suspect there are many nervous senators and congressmen who aren’t getting a lot of sleep these days.

There are 68 comments.

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  1. Max Ledoux Admin

    I look forward to the statement from Mitch McConnell announcing that the Senate will begin hearings to expel Al Franken.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans say that Alabama Senate GOP candidate Roy Moore is virtually certain to face a formal ethics complaint — which would lead to expulsion proceedings — should he be elected next month.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/14/moore-senate-republicans-expulsion-244907

    • #1
    • November 16, 2017, at 8:48 AM PST
    • 23 likes
  2. Frozen Chosen Inactive

    Franken came from show business, of course he’s a hypocritical pig!

    • #2
    • November 16, 2017, at 8:50 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Anything that happens with Moore should happen with Franken. Here we have a picture of sexual assualt.

    • #3
    • November 16, 2017, at 8:54 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  4. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    SNL was slow to do anything about Weinstein (Lorne Michaels said it was a “New York thing”), but quick to do an opening skit about Roy Moore. Why do I doubt the Al Franken jokes will come fast and furious on that show?

    • #4
    • November 16, 2017, at 8:54 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  5. Kevin Schulte Member

    And the Senate says to Moore.

    The Senate is full of creeps. However, we won’t abide your kind of creep here.

    • #5
    • November 16, 2017, at 8:55 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  6. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):
    I look forward to the statement from Mitch McConnell announcing that the Senate will begin hearings to expel Al Franken.

    Not to worry Max. Dems get a free pass in the Senate, regardless of their transgressions.

    • #6
    • November 16, 2017, at 8:58 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  7. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    Frozen Chosen

     Franken came from show business, of course he’s a hypocritical pig!

    Comments @patsajak @roblong @daviddeeble ?

    • #7
    • November 16, 2017, at 8:58 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Old Bathos Moderator

    The Washington Post Enquirer will be all over this. Keep your eyes glued to the bottom of page A12 — in about 15-20 years.

    • #8
    • November 16, 2017, at 8:59 AM PST
    • 13 likes
  9. Frozen Chosen Inactive

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):
    Frozen Chosen

    Franken came from show business, of course he’s a hypocritical pig!

    Comments @patsajak @roblong @daviddeeble ?

    Those three gentlemen will be the first to admit that Hollywood is full of hypocritical pigs. Rob details it in his books.

    • #9
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:02 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Blondie Thatcher

    I say we send ‘em all back home and start over again with a new crop.

    • #10
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:04 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  11. Frozen Chosen Inactive

    On a broader note, what does it say about our society that we can’t find better people to elect to public office than Franken, Moore, Clinton or Trump? Is politics that dirty of a business that it only attracts the creeps and weirdos? Are we that gullible? Do people like this reflect the people who make up our society? Is this kind of behavior really rampant among the populace in general?

    • #11
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:10 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  12. Frozen Chosen Inactive

    Blondie (View Comment):
    I say we send ‘em all back home and start over again with a new crop.

    Would the new crop be any better, that is my fear.

    • #12
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:11 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. StephensJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Frozen Chosen (View Comment):
    On a broader note, what does it say about our society that we can’t find better people to elect to public office than Franken, Moore, Clinton or Trump? Is politics that dirty of a business that it only attracts the creeps and weirdos? Are we that gullible? Do people like this reflect the people who make up our society? Is this kind of behavior really rampant among the populace in general?

    I think it reflects on what people are willing to put up with to run. Do you want every last thing drug up about you? It takes the right mindset to deal with the character destruction these days.

    Also, thinking in terms of Archtypes, Zeus fooled around. It goes with the territory.

    • #13
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:15 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Blondie Thatcher

    Frozen Chosen (View Comment):

    Blondie (View Comment):
    I say we send ‘em all back home and start over again with a new crop.

    Would the new crop be any better, that is my fear.

    Good question. I think the state of politics today means “the good guys” aren’t the ones who normally run for office.

    • #14
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:15 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. Max Ledoux Admin

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):
    I look forward to the statement from Mitch McConnell announcing that the Senate will begin hearings to expel Al Franken.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans say that Alabama Senate GOP candidate Roy Moore is virtually certain to face a formal ethics complaint — which would lead to expulsion proceedings — should he be elected next month.

    https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/14/moore-senate-republicans-expulsion-244907

    Wow! Credit where due:

    Now let’s see if they follow through.

    • #15
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:32 AM PST
    • 18 likes
  16. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Franklin is a Democrat so this is a non story. He will do an apology tour or two to raise his profile and check into some sort of addiction center to get “clean” and all will be well.

    • #16
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:37 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Jon Gabriel, Ed. King
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.

    This is Leeann’s husband. Franken better watch his six.

    • #17
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:40 AM PST
    • 23 likes
  18. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    And of course, there’s plenty of evidence that Franken’s win in 2008 was fraudulent anyway.

    • #18
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:50 AM PST
    • 17 likes
  19. Doug Watt Moderator

    Unfortunately we may have reached the point that a campaign slogan that both the Left and Right could use would be; He may be a sleaze, but he’s our sleaze.

    Working a vice car I arrested both prostitutes and their clients. Many of the clients were married men. One them was giving me a lot of grief. When I finished handcuffing him he said what am I going to tell my wife. I replied give me your phone number and I’ll call her and explain why you won’t be coming home tonight. He didn’t take me up on my offer.

    • #19
    • November 16, 2017, at 9:56 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  20. Frozen Chosen Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    This is Leeann’s husband. Franken better watch his six.

    If anyone deserves to get his lights punched out it’s Al Franken.

    • #20
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:09 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  21. clmac Inactive

    I cannot WAIT for James Lileks’ comments about Franken on the main podcast this week. Ought to be EPIC!

    • #21
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:14 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: “… [I]t was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

    That pretty much sums up both of Franken’s careers.

    • #22
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:25 AM PST
    • 25 likes
  23. James Lileks Contributor

    clmac (View Comment):
    I cannot WAIT for James Lileks’ comments about Franken on the main podcast this week. Ought to be EPIC!

    Story came out towards the end, and alas we didn’t get into the weeds. I have to say I was surprised, b/c I thought he was a nerdy, sexless dork whose sole redeeming quality was his uxorial devotion. But he was an utter jerk the one time I met him, so I’m not completely surprised.

    • #23
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:34 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  24. John A Peabody Inactive
    John A PeabodyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed. (View Comment):
    This is Leeann’s husband. Franken better watch his six.

    Feh. 

    • #24
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:36 AM PST
    • Like
  25. EHerring Coolidge

    Franken’s verbal abuse of Justice Willett yesterday didn’t age well…less than 24 hours later I am sure Weird Al wants to “revise and extend his remarks.” I listened to the CSPAN audio last night and heard several senators embarrass themselves. Not content to embarrass themselves once, Whitehouse and Franken pursued a 2nd round of attacks at about the 2 hr mark. Franken attacked him for making a joke that wasn’t funny.

    • #25
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:37 AM PST
    • Like
  26. Bob Wainwright Member

    Now Stallone has been accused. Anyone of any fame who has ever looked at a woman wrong is shaking in their boots.

    • #26
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:38 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jon,

    That’s it Franken must resign immediately. He has embarrassed the Senate. Mitch McConnell was blushing terribly and we can’t have that. Franken is a contemptable curr. No apologies should be accepted. I demand the test of honor. I’ll meet him tomorrow on the capital steps with sabers. Frank Soto will be my second. Frank if he tries anything funny (or if he wins) shoot him.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #27
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:40 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Cato Rand Inactive

    But none more sanctimonious than Franken. God I’d love to see him brought down.

    • #28
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:42 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  29. clmac Inactive

    I’m Stuart Smalley. 
    I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, woman like my tongue shoved down their throats!

    • #29
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:50 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  30. Michael Brehm Coolidge

    Al gets his story straight.

    • #30
    • November 16, 2017, at 10:53 AM PST
    • 1 like

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