Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) released a second apology for alleged sexual misconduct toward broadcaster Leeann Tweeden that occurred in 2006.
The first apology was brief, and criticized by some as being dismissive and not fully acknowledging Tweeden’s claims.
In the second apology, Franken still claims to remember the kissing incident differently than Tweeden recounted it, and he called for an ethics investigation into his own behavior.
Tweeden said while the first apology seemed hasty, she thought the second one was sincere and said she accepted it.
“That one did seem heartfelt. And I believe it, and I believe him, you know,” Tweeden said. “And I honestly do believe him. I wasn’t waiting for an apology from him, but I gladly accept it.”
The full statement can be read here. Below are some key portions of the apology:
- “There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing — and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine — is: I’m sorry.”
- “I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”
- Regarding the picture of Franken groping Tweeden while she was asleep: “I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself.”
- “While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”
- “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”
Franken has been vocal against sexual harassment and assault, and despite the revelations of his own past behavior, Franken still referred to himself as an “ally and supporter” of victims.
The Democratic senator was accused of forcibly kissing Tweeden in 2006 during a USO tour, and a photo shows Franken groping Tweeden while she slept on the plane ride back to the United States.