Tags: al franken | groping | accuse | snl | leeann tweeden

California Radio Anchor: Al Franken Kissed, Groped Me

Image: California Radio Anchor: Al Franken Kissed, Groped Me
Sen. Al Franken (Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 16 November 2017 01:01 PM

A news anchor and model in California has accused Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., of groping her and Franken said he would "gladly cooperate" with an ethics investigation.

Leeann Tweeden wrote a piece for the website of the radio station she works for, KABC in Los Angeles, and said Franken forcefully kissed her while he was a writer for "Saturday Night Live" and then grabbed her breasts as she slept on a military cargo plane.

Franken quickly issued a statement, offering "my sincerest apologies to Leeann."

Tweeden said he joined Franken and other celebrities on a USO Tour to the Middle East in December 2006. She said Franken wrote a skit in which he would kiss her in front of the crowd.

"On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time," Tweeden wrote. "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.'"

Tweeden said Franken kept insisting they rehearse the kiss, so she finally gave in and figured she would turn her head at the last second or place her hand on his mouth.

"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," Tweeden wrote. "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."

Tweeden said she avoided being alone with Franken after that and during the show, she turned her head during the kiss.

After the trip, Tweeden said she saw a photo — which she included in her story — of Franken placing his hands on her chest while she was asleep on the C-17 cargo plane that was taking them back to the United States.

"I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep," she wrote. "I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.

"How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's funny?"

Tweeden said she felt empowered to share her story publicly after reading about allegations of sexual misconduct at the hands of politicians.

After a lengthy career in comedy and entertainment, Franken took office in 2009.

"I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann," Franken said. "As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it."

The allegations could trigger an ethics review in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called on Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to join him in pressing for a review.

"Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable— in the workplace or anywhere else," the Kentucky Republican said.

McConnell's statement comes as Senate Republicans have called for Alabama GOP candidate Roy Moore to step aside in the face of allegations he molested two women decades ago. McConnell had led the call. Moore has dug in, saying the allegations are false.

Franken released a more detailed statement, ABC News reported, in which he called for an ethics investigation.

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A news anchor and model in California has accused Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., of groping her and Franken said he would "gladly cooperate" with an ethics investigation.
al franken, groping, accuse, snl, leeann tweeden
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2017-01-16
Thursday, 16 November 2017 01:01 PM
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