top having heroes, everybody! The age of being able to look up to men has officially come to a close now that Senator Al Franken — who by all public accounts until now has been a progressive champion of women's rights — has been accused of groping and kissing a woman without her consent. Comedy heroes, titans of their industries, and powerful politicians are dropping like flies as we realize that everyone is terrible and sexual harassment and assault are so much more prevalent than we gave it credit for.
Minnesota Senator Al Franken has sort of kind of not really apologized after broadcaster and model Leann Tweeden accused him of sexual assault.
In an essay published for Los Angeles radio station KABC, Tweeden described how Franken “forcibly kissed” and groped her when they were both on a USO tour in the Middle East in 2006 — two years before Franken was elected as a Democratic Senator in Minnesota.
Tweeden explained that she was a TV host, sports broadcaster, and well-known model at the time. She expected to emcee and introduce the skits and the acts during the show.
However, Franken said he had written a part for her “that he thought would be funny,” and Tweeden agreed to play along.
"When I saw the script," Tweeden wrote, "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.”
But then, Franken insisted on rehearsing the kiss. Tweeden tried to brush him off, but he insisted.
“He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss,” she wrote. “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 immediately pushed him away, obviously disgusted.
When they actually performed the skit, Tweeden turned her head so he couldn’t kiss her on the lips.
Tweeden said she didn’t report the incident at the time. She “didn’t want to cause trouble.” Sound familiar?
But that wasn’t the only horrific incident Tweeden suffered at the hands of Franken…
When the tour wrapped and they were on their way home, Tweeden fell asleep on the plane after it left from Afghanistan. She didn't see this horrific photo until she was back in the U.S.:
“I couldn’t believe it,” Tweeden wrote. “He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Belittled. Humiliated.”