Published Nov 16, 2017Al Franken, a former Saturday Night Live writer and performer who has since become Senator of Minnesota, has been accused of sexual misconduct.
Leeann Tweeden, a radio journalist for the Los Angeles show McIntyre in the Morning, says Franken sexually assaulted her during a USO tour in 2006. Specifically, she said Franken groped her while she was sleeping — and she shared the above photo to prove it.
Tweeden spoke out about the incident on the radio this morning (November 16), further detailing her allegations in a blog post entitled, "Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There's Nothing Funny About It."
Prior to the groping incident, Tweeden alleged that Franken wrote a part for her in a play that they were going to perform for the troops. The part involved a kiss, which Franken insisted they practice backstage. Then, he forced himself on her and started kissing her.
"I felt disgusted and violated," she wrote. "Not long after, I performed the skit as written, carefully turning my head so he couldn't kiss me on the lips."
She added that she was given a CD of photos from the trip when she arrived back in Los Angeles. Among them was the photo available above, which shows Franken grabbing her breasts while she was asleep on the 36-hour trip.
"Senator Franken, you wrote the script. But there's nothing funny about sexual assault," Tweeden wrote. "You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed."
Al Franken, who had previously been considered as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, has released something of an apology. As the New York Times reports, he said, "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."
UPDATE (11/16, 1p.m. EST): Franken has shared a more complete statement about the allegations, which you can read below.
Full statement from Sen. Franken. Notably, he asks that a Senate Ethics investigation "be undertaken" in light of sexual misconduct allegations. pic.twitter.com/0suo7CqWJU— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaNBCNews) November 16, 2017