Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) kissed and groped a female news anchor without her permission, according to the anchor, Leeann Tweeden.
Tweeden, a news anchor on “McIntyre in the Morning,” which airs on Talkradio KABC-FM in Los Angeles, told a harrowing story on Thursday, and shared it on KABC.
What did Tweeden say?
According to Tweeden, the incidents occurred in 2006 when the two of them were part of a USO tour.
Tweeden, 44, said that Franken wrote a performance skit in which the two of them would kiss.
“Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along,” Tweeden wrote. “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.”
Tweeden was uncomfortable with the idea, and in the time leading up to the performance, Franken allegedly insisted on practicing for the skit.
During the practice, Franken allegedly shoved his tongue into her mouth.
Tweeden, who felt “disgusted and violated,” told him to back off and advised him that she wouldn’t respond so kindly should he try something like that again.
“I walked away,” Tweeden wrote. “All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.”
“I felt disgusted and violated,” she added.
Apparently miffed by her rebuttal, Franken reportedly treated her childishly in response.
“Franken repaid me with petty insults, including drawing devil horns on at least one of the headshots I was autographing for the troops,” Tweeden wrote.
She later detailed an experience when Franken approached her while she slept and groped her breasts.
Tweeden has photographic evidence backing up this allegation.
Not a good look, senator pic.twitter.com/p2yEGrC5jS
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) November 16, 2017
“I couldn’t believe it,” Tweeden wrote. “He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep. I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”
Franken’s office has released a brief statement in response to the allegations.
— Ed O'Keefe (@edatpost) November 16, 2017
Did she report the incident at the time?
Tweeden said that she hadn’t reported the incident until now because she didn’t wan’t to cause trouble.
“I didn’t tell the Sergeant Major of the Army, who was the sponsor of the tour. I didn’t tell our USO rep what happened,” she explained.
“At the time, I didn’t want to cause trouble,” Tweeden added. “We were in the middle of a war zone, it was the first show of our holiday tour, I was a professional, and I could take care of myself.”
She wrote, “I tried to let it go, but I was angry.”
Tweeden said she told her husband the story, but mainly kept the incidents to herself.
“I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster,” she explained.
Adding “that was then, this is now,” Tweeden wrote that she is “no longer afraid.”
“Sen. Franken, you wrote the script,” Tweeden wrote. ” But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.”