Leeann Tweeden’s Accusation of Al Franken, Franken’s Response

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Leeann Tweeden is, according to Wikipedia, a former Hooter hostess and model who has worked for Fox Sports Network, and was hostess of Poker After Dark, a commenter on the Hannity show, and other similar shows, mainly on Fox News. (This is probably why I’ve never heard of her, I don’t watch FOX as a rule).

You probably know who Al Franken is, but just in case, he is a former satirist, frequent USO performer, SNL star, and now, United States Senator from Minnesota. He is famous for his vigorous championship of good things in a bad place.

Earlier today Tweeden made an accusation against Senator Al Franken, claiming that he gave her an unwanted kiss during rehearsal for a comedy skit on a USO tour. There was also a mildly inappropriate and rather sophomoric photo that Tweeden included in her public complaint.

For those who are not on Facebook, here is Al Franken’s statement, of just a short time ago, regarding the recently revealed activities while on a USO tour several years ago:

The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. 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.
But I want to say something else, too. Over the last few months, all of us—including and especially men who respect women—have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women.

For instance, that picture. 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. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate. It’s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what’s more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it—women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me.

Coming from the world of comedy, I’ve told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realize were just plain offensive. But the intentions behind my actions aren’t the point at all. It’s the impact these jokes had on others that matters. And I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come to terms with that.
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.

And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.


I trust the good and thoughtful people of Minnesota to come to terms with the Al Franken thing, in a way that is reasonable and appropriate.
I have no idea what that will look like, but I honestly do think the process will involve a civilization-advancing conversation, because that is what we do here in Minnesota. Three out of five times, anyway.

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13 thoughts on “Leeann Tweeden’s Accusation of Al Franken, Franken’s Response

  1. I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t.

    Early on in his career i was impressed with him — see seemed to be more intelligent than most of his peers (and he may very well be).

    I was disappointed with his questioning of the tech folks a few weeks ago — just as much grandstanding as the rest of the people on the panel, very little of substance. Now this comes out.

    I realize this is a single instance, but I can’t square the picture with the quote I posted above. Even if you’re stupid you (or prone to stupid things, which I was in high school and college) you don’t do shit like this.

    1. At SNL he proposed jokes along these lines, including raping Lesley Stahl while she was sleeping.
      He wanted to kiss the hot model, so he invents a scene for the performance that they were going to do, and then demands she rehearse with him. I bet if we looked thru the SNL archive we would find many more instances of this.

    1. Humor (or attempts at humor) does not equal actual behavior, so snl is irrelevant.

      I am glad he gave an actual apology, and it seems that she is fine with it. I’m still immensely irked that he did it. How do you even get to your teens and not know this stuff shouldn’t be done?

    2. State of mind of doing something to a woman while she’s sleeping. Indeed, exactly the humor he exhibits in the photo. Not surprising the woman accepted the apology. She agreed to the skit and rehearsal to begin with.

  2. Humor (or attempts at humor) does not equal actual behavior, so snl is irrelevant.

    That needs to be expanded upon before it is put to dishonest use. The ‘humor’ reference is in reference to comedians’ performances. Just as Don Rickles’ routines were not an indication of the type of person he was, Franken’s “jokes” on SNL aren’t relevant to anything other than bad choices for topics. (The same goes the other way: you should not take the fact that Adam Sandler has been in “comedies” as any indication that he has ever been, is now, or will in the be, funny. He just isn’t.)

    People trying to dismiss assault by joking about it in a coffee shop, where the jokes are smokescreen for sanctions or other support for the assailant — despicable.

  3. If Al’s first statement were like that, it would be one thing. He made that statement after he realized his first one wasn’t working to get the story to go away and his people were abandoning him.
    The only apology I’ve seen that looks legit is Louie CK’s.

  4. Everyone’s bad behavior will have consequences {and rightfully so] except the groper-in-chief’s, who received 40+ million votes. What a strange country we have.

  5. Only Repubcos are condemn and Franken Panken
    will probably get a Chairmanship promotion.

    Guarantee, he will not resign nor get cashiered.

    Check your local MSA (MOP) to see if they mention
    he is a Demco?

  6. Knowing the kinds of pranks/stunts that teenage males pull on each other, I wonder why women should be treated differently? Aren’t they equals? If she’s passed out, shouldn’t somebody be using a sharpie to decorate her face? Why not?

    AllRED and the sexual liberation crowd trying to have it both ways. Franken’s just funnin’ round with one of the boyz! It’s almost like they’re saying there’s a difference between men and women, and that women should be given some sort of special treatment…..nah…that can’t be it.

    Anyone see the Joy Behar one, she’s awake!?

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