Al Franken issues a better apology, says he welcomes ethics investigation

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As we discussed briefly in the links yesterday, a radio host named Leeann Tweeden told her #MeToo story about Senator Al Franken, the sitting Democratic senator from Minnesota. Franken was a famous comedian and comedy writer in a former life, and I always sort of idly wondered if there were any stories in his past, especially related to his stand-up or SNL years. Franken has been a strong progressive voice and a powerful ally across the board. As it turns out, he also did some bad sh-t. Tweeden wrote her account for KABC.com – you can read it here. She described a bad USO trip she took with Franken in December 2006, when he forcibly kissed her and then groped her while she was asleep.

Al Franken’s first stab at an apology was pretty awful. His first statement, from his Senate press office, was this: “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.” He later issued a second statement/apology which was a bit better:

“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.”

[From Politico]

I could annotate the sh-t out of this with a lot of [Editor’s Note: O RLY?] and [Editor’s note: NEVER SAY YOU RESPECT WOMEN RIGHT AFTER YOU’VE BEEN CAUGHT NOT RESPECTING WOMEN]. But, again, the bar is set so low on these things. At least with this statement, he says the words “I’m sorry” and he welcomes the Senate Ethics investigation/inquiry. As he should – what’s the worst that could happen? He could be forced into a proverbial corner and made to resign from his seat. And the Dem governor of Minnesota would install another Dem in that seat. It’s not the end of the world. The best case scenario is that the Ethics committee investigates and the Franken case forces the Republican majority to set the level of inquiry-triggering right here, at Franken level. Which means they would have to open up inquiries on a lot of their own members too.

Here’s another added wrinkle: a woman named Melanie Morgan claims that Franken harassed her repeatedly in 2000 after they both made appearances on Bill Maher’s old show Politically Incorrect. After they had a disagreement on the show, Morgan claims Franken cornered her in a menacing way, yelled at her and then later got her home phone number and called her several times to harass her. The story isn’t about sexual harassment, although I’m not sure Franken would have gone after a man that way over a simple disagreement on a TV show. You can read Melanie Morgan’s account here.

Last few things: there’s some chatter that all of this might be a right-wing conspiracy? I don’t know. But apparently Roger Stone – an extremist conservative lunatic who got banned from Twitter for making threats to journalists – knew ahead of time that Al Franken was about to be accused of some sh-t. Hm. And because this wasn’t terrible enough, an admitted sexual assailant and well-known harasser has chimed in and tried to make this a thing:

Just FYI: Donald Trump has still not uttered one word – in public or on Twitter – about Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate who has been accused of pedophilia, sexual assault and sexually harassing multiple teenage girls and women in their 20s.

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190 Responses to “Al Franken issues a better apology, says he welcomes ethics investigation”

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  1. Odetta says:

    Trump should keep his comments to himself about all these sexual harassment stories. He’s literally on tale talking about sexually assaulting women, and not a word about Moore. WTF?!

  2. JosieH says:

    Senate ethics investigations NEVER result in sanctions or anything of the sort, and he absolutely knows that. Both of his apologies are jokes.

  3. lisa says:

    not defending Al but those tweets. to answer donald, i dont know, maybe he grabbed her by the pussy, qualifying him to be the next president.

  4. Radley says:

    I’m so disappointed. I believe he deserves to be aired out. But I also believe this is being used for political leverage by desperate Republicans. It’s a double dose of yuck and it may further escalate since there’s $15 million dollars worth of current and former Congressional harassers out there.

    I wanna wake up January 1st to the realization that 2017 was all just a bad dream, Dallas style. LOL Anybody remember that? I wanna see Hillary get out of the shower talking about preparing her state of the union address… because she’s the President. *sigh*

    And where does this b!tch Donny Dotard get off shading anybody about harrassment?? You’re an admitted sexual assaulter, accused harasser and likely a child molester and rapist. Shut up! I effing hate this evil gas bag.

    • Betsy says:

      Sadly, that’s my concern, too. Not that Ms. Tweeden doesn’t matter, but she accepted his apology and doesn’t want him to step down. I saw that Roger Stone crap yesterday and I don’t want Al Franken – who has shown contrition and apparently personal growth – to get tossed out.

      I would also like my autocorrect to stop making “Franken” into “Frankenstein” every single time.

      • lightpurple says:

        Well, at least your autocorrect knows how to spell it, unlike Trump’s, which came up with “Frankenstien.”

      • Kitten says:

        She was on one of the morning talk shows (GMA I think?) and not that she has any obligation to “come off well” but FWIW, she did. Everything she said made sense to me. That picture Franken took was humiliating and disgusting. The shame and embarrassment and just….disgust she felt in her interactions with him is something no one deserves to go through.

        That being said, Franken’s apology sounds genuine to me. I truly believe that he is remorseful and ashamed, which is not something I’ve felt with any other of the accused thus far.

        I got flamed on this thread yesterday but if I’m being honest with all of my C/B pals I have to admit that I’m really struggling with this. On one hand, I want to be consistent in terms of not giving ANY guy a pass when it comes to sexual harassment/assault. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s helpful to paint every incident with a broad brush. I’m concerned that if we continue to do that, then we undermine the severity of the actions of someone like Weinstein, Moore etc.

        I guess that I’m still trying to process how I feel about this…

      • ArchieGoodwin says:

        Kitten, I am very mixed as well. I watched Franken question Comey and Yates and those generals (I forget now, clapper and the other guy) and was very impressed.
        He is one of the few willing to call out bullshit and ask the questions that needed to be asked.

        But, yeah, these pictures were not that long ago, and while it might have been his schtick, the fact he even thought it might be funny is disturbing.

        Ultimately, I want him to stay. I want him to continue to work to drive out the republicans, to out those who are lying baldfaced to everyone. I would think differently if Leeann herself had not said she thought he didn’t need to resign, and that she graciously accepted his apology.

        I am being a hypocrite. I know it and I am struggling because – do the needs of the many? Can he still be the force we need?

      • KBB says:

        I feel your pain, Kitten. It f***ing sucks that we have to continually be let down by men in power. It’s easy to “cancel” the people we don’t care for, but a lot harder to cancel people we feel have been our allies.

      • magnoliarose says:

        I had to think about this for a long time, and I came to the realization this is not a time when we have the luxury of making decisions that feel good anymore.
        We live in a very gray time, and there are no judgments about things like this that will be easy. Unfortunately, because our government is one big cesspool of corruption pragmatism has to be used to make moral decisions that are otherwise simple.

        I don’t think Roy Moore should pull out of the race either. He is an evil pedophile, but a political party does not have the right to throw away the will of the people because they don’t like the outcome. His racism and homophobia were acceptable, and I am sure plenty knew about his predatory behavior but they didn’t care all along. This is the GOP in 2017, and they accepted him to run as a Republican candidate so here he is. You get the representation you deserve.

        Franken was a comedian at the time, and his behavior was reprehensible but what sense does it make to punish him when the victim has accepted his apology. This is how the media overcompensated in the name of fairness and equated HRC’s emails as the same as 45′s crimes. Like I said when 45 resigns we can demand others to lose their positions until then a firm moral ground doesn’t exist.

        I know where I stand on these issues and how I would like things to be. I haven’t failed myself to realize what is truly at stake right now. For the past year I struggled, and emotionally it has been a daily challenge, but when I think about all that has happened and how many people have died or been damaged by this criminal administration I have to think of the bigger picture. I don’t like the way it feels, but my feelings are secondary right now.

      • Amy says:

        Maynoliarose, I was side-eyeing the people who were saying things like “at least what he did is not as bad as trump, Moore, Weinstein, etc” yesterday and thinking that maybe those people were just putting their blinders on bc Franken is a Democrat, one of us. I thought it was hypocritical bc we often claim that the republicans do the same thing—forgive and follow blindly anyone with an R after their name. But after reading your comment today, about how the media spent so much time on Hillary’s emails in an effort to “be fair” and not just seem like they were criticizing trump all the time, even though what Hillary did was not even fractionally as bad as all the things trump has done, I am now reconsidering my position. Weinstein, Moore, and trump have committed numerous sexual crimes including rape, moleststion, and pedophilia. Franken has done this one thing, which is stupid and gross, but it really is not on the same level. In an effort to prove that we liberals are fair and not blindly following our leaders by refusing to acknowledge wrong doing amongst our own, we may have over compensated. Just as the media did when they were trying to prove they were fair and unbiased. You have made me think differently about this. Thank you.

      • QueenB says:

        @Amy: But we can do it all at once. Of course Franken isnt as bad as a serial rapist but he still is not fit to keep his position. Just because it isnt “as bad”doesnt mean he sholdnt face consequences.
        Its probably impossible that he will face legal actions but if he was THEN it would be the right thing to get a less severe punishment because the other mens crimes are worse and they also have more victims.
        But never sexually harassing someone is a baseline that will always have to be upheld.
        Im completly shocked how easily people abandon women who come forward if its a white DEM who is accused.

        Again²: Believe women or dont but dont tell me “I believe women just not when its not convenient for me”

      • April says:

        I voted for him and I feel he is contrite with his apology. I have no problems with him staying. As his position as senator for MN, I feel we need more people like him than the GOP deplorables.

      • Cranberry says:

        @Mel,
        Thank you for your comment. It is so true. We don’t live in a time where everything is black or white. There’s so many terrible things happening that are not fair and may never get justice because of political corruption. Politically we have to be careful where we take a hard line. If the punishment far out weighs the crime then it starts looking like a witch hunt.

        @QueenB

        I’m not an expert, but everyone using the claim of “sexual harassment” and “sexual predator” for Franken’s case are misusing these charges.
        As I understand, sexual harassment in the work place has specific requirements that have to be met for the charge to hold up in court. It has to be shown that it was damaging physically &/or mentally to the victim. It had be repeated behavior. There’s an element to the charge about showing a specific outcome was intended by the harassment like intimidation, subjugation, sexual favors. Usually it has to be shown the harasser operates from a position of power like a boss, manager or a senior employee. Basically for a harassment charge to stick, the offender can’t just be a jerk that generally degrades or is inappropriate with women in the workplace. You have to show why the offenses constitute harassment.
        As for the misuse of the word “predator”. What Franken did was wrong, but that does not make him a predator. If more women accuse him of sexual inappropriate behavior or worse then the term might be applicable. Otherwise it’s just reckless name calling that lessens the seriousness of the claim.
        Finally, I’m not sure Fraken’s bad behavior is considered criminal. If the victim were to have pressed charges at the time, wouldn’t it have been a civil suit rather than criminal?

      • ArchieGoodwin says:

        Once again Magnolia sweeps in and says exactly what I am thinking.

        I also think that Democrats are trying to use Franken as a moral compass for the Republicans, to maybe shame them into making a stand against Moore? But it won’t work. They have no shame.
        I just cannot see throwing this man’s entire career away, when he is a solid voice and is unafraid to actually do his job.

    • island_girl says:

      Agree with all of this…especially the waking up from a bad dream Dallas style.

      • Menutia says:

        Kitten, I don’t know how to reply to you directly but I think this will end up near your comment. Franken is my senator. And he’s got a history of being a condescending a$$. People overlook it because of the D after his name, but many have stories of him being a less than kind, respectful person. So while I see what you’re saying, he gets no pass from me, and I am positive to this woman, what he did *IS* a big deal to her, not to be diminished as “not so bad.” I’ve been violated in non-rape ways, and yes it wasn’t rape, but I am jarred and disturbed by it nonetheless and it threw me off kilter for a long time when each happened, one yesterday. So, I’m not willing to say “oh, well. Not so bad. Let him stay.” Id want my perpetrators gone and definitely not representing me, and I want Al gone, too.

      • Olive says:

        @Menutia yep, he’s condescending in that same way a lot of male comedians are, where you can tell they think they’re smarter than everyone in the room and have to hold it over people. I liked Al and voted for him too, but I liked him from afar, you know?

        either way, if there was an election in MN today I doubt he’d win. Too many Democrats are angry with him, and the Republicans have never had any love for him. And that’s dangerous – we’re a blue state, but the outstate areas of MN are worryingly red and only becoming moreso. He’s gotta go. He certainly can’t be around for whenever he’s up for reelection.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      You have said it so well here. It is disappointing. I believe that our current crisis is as much about good men not standing up to bad men–and indeed in many cases copying and going along with hurting women just to be one of the gang. Sigh. I, too, wish this were all a dream.

  5. Beth says:

    Pussygrabber Trump shouldn’t be tweeting about how bad someone else’s picture is, respect, or tapes.

  6. grabbyhands says:

    His apology yesterday made me so angry. Clearly the photo was intended to be funny?? F*ck the f*ck off and take a whole stadium full of seats with that tone deaf shit. Yeah, pretending to grope a sleeping, defenseless woman is a frigging laugh riot. God, I expected so much better from him.

  7. MMC says:

    I like Franken and am taking his remarks at face value. He could have/should have been proactive, and not letting it slide, but I hope this doesn’t force his resignation. Trump, I mean, even the Deplorables have to be rolling their eyes at him trying to take the high road on this.

    As to the effectiveness of Senate ethics investigations, I disagree they have no value as didn’t they ultimately force Packwood, Hastert, Delay, Gingrich (Congress) and others to resign?

  8. hindulovegod says:

    I think best case scenario is that Franken is forced out and the governor appoints Keith Ellison to that seat. There’s already a petition!

  9. Talie says:

    Since Trump is so amped about sexual harassment justice perhaps Mitch McConnell should open an ethics investigation into him as well.

    • Juls says:

      THIS. All day. The accusations against Trump (which I believe are true, all of them) were made public a full year before these floodgates opened and this issue was brought to the forefront of public consciousness. Before #metoo and ‘I believe her.’
      So we need our government to investigate Trump under this new lens and add this issue to the plethora of reasons that he is unfit for office.
      LOCK THEM UP: King Nothing, Complicit Barbie, Jared “the boy” Kushner, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum Trump brothers, all of them in handcuffs. Like, yesterday.

  10. S says:

    This is a very good statement. Actually apologetic, takes responsibility, welcomes further investigation.

    I’ve been a victim of serious sexual assault, both in the workplace and in my home as a very young teen. I’ve been a victim of what we called, back in the day, date rape. I also worked in a male-dominated field — like 20 to 1 — for a decade-plus and experienced a lot of the more common forms of general sexual harassment. I’ve had plenty of boob honk moments and while it’s juvenile, rude, gross and completely unacceptable, I can’t say it was the same as saying no and being ignored while a guy pushed into me. And to say those two things are equivalent does feel wrong to me.

    Don’t misunderstand … It’s not a contest, and I’m certainly not telling anyone else how to feel about what happened to them (your experience, your feelings), just noting that, I, personally, don’t feel this ten-year-old incident of bad taste/judgement, at least as we’ve heard it to date, should be the end of a career, and I genuinely believe I’d feel the same way if it were Paul Ryan in that photo.

    Likewise, I don’t think every guy I ever worked with that said something out of line to me, or a co-worker in front me, deserves to lose his job. I’d like to think/hope that the culture is changing and if they change with it, that’s a GOOD thing. Ignoring what they’re doing now to punish them for every past transgressions seems counterproductive.

    So, yeah, OF COURSE there’s a scale: rape, coerced contact, exposing yourself; basically anything that could be a felony…You should be done, no matter when it occurred. Lewd jokes, general gross comments, etc. Stop it. Never do it again, but I’d probably hesitate to tank a career over what was said a dozen years ago, if that’s not how they’re still acting today.

    I do think it’s a bit crazy that people were calling for Franken to resign within minutes of a single Twitter post. That seems … extreme. I also think the right-wing conspiracy theory is not that nuts. Yes, the picture exists. No, I’m not calling the accuser a liar. But it seems a pretty potent example of the Right weaponizing the “believe women” movement, just as a recent article predicted, and that seems dangerous to me, not just for Democrats, but the whole me too moment.

    Both women are not just conservative, but make their living in right-wing media. (For the record, if Trump’s only accuser was a Mother Jones or Think Progress reporter, I think skepticism would be equally warranted.) Leeann has said that Bill O’Reilly should never have resigned. She’s a birther and a Fox News regular who publicly proclaims many of the farthest right wing ideological positions. The so-called “second accuser” (and I say so-called, because the story, even if entirely accurate, is more odd/annoying than scary or aggressive) is a blogger for a far right-wing site.

    These aren’t everyday Trump voters; hard right politics is their life and livelihood and both women have gone on record multiple times defending other sexual harassers, and worse, as long as they had an R next to their name. Couple that with the photographer from the USO trip saying the shot was a set-up that Leeann was in on it (only pretending to sleep) and … Well, yeah, I have some doubts about this one.

    I don’t know if anyone else read the Daily Beast story by Erin Ryan, but, to me, she nails it. I don’t feel good about this. I don’t think Franken should walk away unscathed, and if there’s more there then, well, don’t let the door hit you and so forth; But I’m not totally on board on throwing him under the bus just yet, either.

    • IlsaLund says:

      Thanks. Well said and I totally agree. Calling for Franken’s immediate resignation makes no sense. We need to be careful to not develop a mob mentality and immediately eviscerate everyone. It does appear that the right wing is gearing up to weaponize this issue and go after their political opponents. Leeann hasn’t gone after other sexual harassers, yet wants to put Franken on blast. Something just doesn’t feel right about this whole thing.

      • Amy says:

        Maybe that’s befause leann hasn’t been sexually harassed by any other men who are public figures. She also probably does not have photo evidence of them being gross like she has here.

        I am worried that we here are starting to say a lot of the things we rail against when republicans and rape apologists say them. Like: “We need to be careful Bout developing a mob mentality.”

        I think his apology is successful, he says he will do better, I don’t think he should be forced to resign, she says that she forgives him and that she doesn’t expect him to resign, and he is open to an investigation. Those are better and sufficient reasons to me for him not to be forced out than doubting the accuser and saying things about “mob mentality,” which imply that anyone thinking he should resign is just on a crazy witch hunt, thirsty for blood even when there’s no wrongdoing. There is evidence here that he did something wrong.

      • QueenB says:

        Amy: “I am worried that we here are starting to say a lot of the things we rail against when republicans and rape apologists say them. Like: “We need to be careful Bout developing a mob mentality.” ”

        +1000! Add “witch hunt” and “false accusations” to that.

        Its so shameful to see how fast most posters here suddenly disbelieve women. We had a long thread about Ed Westwick and why its important and then it seemed settled to believe women and how long was that ago? A couple of days max and now we are ALREADY doubting women and desperately trying to find something to discredit them.

        Again: You either believe women or you dont. You dont get to pick your favourite politican and give him a “get out of assault” card.

      • Maren says:

        QueenB, I believe her. But I don’t think the acts rise to the level of Franken resigning. At least while Trump and Clarence Thomas are in their seats.

      • Trashaddict says:

        Maren, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I honestly think Al Franken would step down if he knew that justice would be applied equally and Grabby Donald and his cronies had to step down, too. I don’t think the opposite would hold true.

    • bluhare says:

      Totally agree with everything you said.

    • Obvious is Obvious says:

      Excellent points. I have been thinking the exact same things.

    • Betsy says:

      “Couple that with the photographer from the USO trip saying the shot was a set-up that Leeann was in on it (only pretending to sleep) and …”
      Holy moly – I missed that yesterday. If so, yeah… that’s….

      I think slate had a thinkpiece about just what you’re talking about – the Right trying to weaponize #metoo and it’s disgusting.

      • lucy2 says:

        Well said, S. I’m in agreement – this was a bad thing and he should be very sorry and FFS do better, but I don’t think this is a career ender. If more stuff comes out though, as it often does, he goes.

        Betsey I’ve seen that comment from the photographer too, but if that’s true, wouldn’t Franken have stated that right away? He would have been in on it, and would have immediately said “no this was a set up joke with her consent and here are the 5 other people present who will confirm that”.

      • Va Va Kaboom says:

        There really is no basis to believe the photo was staged. The USO can’t even confirm who the photographer was, though we do know Franken’s own brother Owen was the official photographer for the tour.

        Owen Franken denies taking the photo and literally anyone could have shot it. If it turns out he’s the unnamed photographer being quoted…. well it’s going to take more than his brother’s assurances this was a consented to and staged photo.

        Edit: In fact I searched and only found a few sources that even mention the unnamed photographer ‘s claim it’s staged. One was on Huff Post and has already been taken down. The other on the DailyKos and while mentioning the claim, has absolutely no evidence to support it. They just detail the rumor and caution that it might turn out to be staged.

      • S says:

        I saw last night that the story about the photographer claiming Leeann was not asleep for the picture has been debunked. I apologize for spreading bad information; absolutely never my intent. Several legit reporters had retweeted the (now deleted) tweet with that claim (originally picked up by HuffPo, I believe), and that’s where I’d seen it, and why I thought it deserved consideration. That was wrong.

        I still contend that I’m not sure the offense, as described, and the time it occurred (prior to his being a Sen) means Franken should lose his job. If investigation turns up similar claims, or anything while he’s been in office, then that opinion would change for me, but right now I still feel censure and a contrite apology for a single, decade-old incident is commiserate with the offense Franken committed. And I still feel strongly that would be my position regardless of party.

        A very bad taste, unfunny joke and misogynistic skit would have been (and likely still be) ridiculously commonplace, especially in a military setting (said as someone who grew up in a military family, and still has active duty relatives I visit on base fairly regularly). If you don’t believe our cultural tolerance for these sorts of things has shifted only very recently, please watch go back and watch movies/tv shows from just a decade ago. I think many here wold be shocked at what we thought was acceptable very, very recently. You definitely don’t need to go back to Mad Men days to see glaring differences. Heck, I watched Bring It On on a plane recently, a movie released in 2000, and there were dozens of instances of cringe-worthy homophobic, transphobic and sexist dialogue that would never fly today.

        This is not to excuse Franken’s behavior; just put it in context. I believe he needed to apologize. I believe an investigation is warranted. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be punished; just that the punishment should fit the offense.

    • QueenB says:

      Ah it only took as a couple of weeks to go back to hold every detail in a womans life against her and defend a powerful man.

      Well it was nice while it lasted.

    • Monica says:

      “Couple that with the photographer from the USO trip saying the shot was a set-up that Leeann was in on it (only pretending to sleep) and … Well, yeah, I have some doubts about this one.”

      lmfao well there it is Republican ratf*cking, cause they never done that, right?

    • Kitten says:

      YES. Your comment is everything. Thank you for taking the time to add depth as well as personal context to what many of us are feeling.

    • KBB says:

      Do you have a link to the photographer saying she was in on it?

      I just feel gross doubting this woman because she’s a Trump supporter. There are no perfect victims, right? I wouldn’t disbelieve a Trump accuser because she was super liberal. Maybe if Franken were denying that he forcibly kissed her, I’d feel different.

      I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping this turns out to be some right wing smear job though.

    • Amy says:

      I agree and disagree with your reasons for speculating if this is a Republican set up or not. The story of the photographer saying this was a shot that they set up and that she wasn’t actually sleeping and was in on it is a reason to speculate. But I feel uncomfortable speculating about whether these claims are true or not based on the accusers’ political leanings. I think that’s getting too close to the “perfect victim” mentality. I get angry when accusers are called out for being fame hungry, or just looking for a settlement, or for making up a story for revenge, spite, or out of jealousy.

    • magnoliarose says:

      @S The Daily Beast article by Erin Gloria Ryan is what I fear is coming or is already here. Thanks

    • Lahdidahbaby says:

      A great, thought-provoking post, S. Thank you.

  11. lightpurple says:

    What Franken did was wrong. The Senate should conduct its investigation and he should accept any penalty that results. And then he should face his constituents and THEY decide whether he stays or goes. There are rules in place, rules that get ignored, let’s follow them.

    I brought this up yesterday, here in MA, we had two congressional representatives, Barney Frank and Gerry Studds who both engaged in inappropriate behavior. Studds had an affair with a congressional page, which is against congressional rules. He was censured on the floor of the House, as he should have been. He also admitted his wrongdoing and met with his constituents, heard their concerns and their anger, took the heat. They returned him to office. Frank discovered his lover Steve Gobie was running a prostitution ring from Frank’s home. Frank reported it to the police, Congress investigated Frank, cleared him of involvement in the prostitution ring (the police cleared him too) but found Frank broke rules by fixing parking tickets (a lot of parking tickets, over 100 parking tickets) for Gobie), he too was censured. He too went back to the district, met with constituents and had them decide.

    The same should happen with Franken and others in Congress – take the punishment and the constituents decide.

    Now, for Trump. If the Senate is investigating Franken for his misconduct with Tweeden, they must also investigate all others, including Trump. Furthermore, Trump’s tweet last night showed that his mind went where Franken’s hands did not. Trump envisioned Tweeden’s body being violated. And Trump invited us all to join in on that vision he had. I have forwarded that tweet to my three congressional representatives demanding action.

    • Esmom says:

      Yes to everything you’ve said. At the very least, Franken is demonstrating, unlike the effing GOP, that rules in place need to be followed.

      I don’t know if it was you who said this yesterday or if I read it somewhere else but apparently Ted Kennedy did the same thing and his constituents gave him the thumbs up.

      They ALL need to be investigated.

      • Lightpurple says:

        Yes, it was me. The weekend after Chappaquidick, Kennedy did a television broadcast (same weekend as the moon landing so people were glued to their televisions & there were only 3 networks & they were all covering the moon landing and Chappaquiddick & nothing else) in which he apologized and asked forgiveness. He then asked constituents to let him know if he should stay or resign. Stay. And he was repeatedly returned to office by large margins until his death 40 years later.

    • Lahdidahbaby says:

      Lightpurple, that’s such an important point: Trump FURTHER violated the victim — PUBLICLY. And just the fact that his own imagination immediately went to the victim’s other private body parts says a lot about Trump himself. Honestly, it never even occurred to me when I saw that photo to construct further imaginary lascivious violations of the victim by Franken. Trump is betraying himself in that tweet. He is showing the world what HE might have done.

      And why am I even saying “might have done,” anyway? He himself has already bragged about grabbing the genitals of woman without their consent.

  12. NorthernLala says:

    Men suck! The orange menace is a plague on our planet.
    I am swearing so much these days.
    I hate him. I f*cking hate him and his stupid face and his stupid little hands gripping that stupid little water bottle and his stupid tweets. I report him, pretty much daily, on Twitter. I know it does nothing but I do it anyways because that’s about all I can do.
    I hate what he’s doing to this planet. I hate all the noise he creates. I hate the stupidity. I’m starting to hate men in general. 😩
    On a positive note, women are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. Viva la revolution! A dam has burst. The last straw has broken the the camel’s back. Cliché yes but hey, it’s early :)
    Women need to save this planet from the 2 stupid haircuts itching to blow it up.
    Rant over
    Need coffee

  13. Lucy2 says:

    His first comment was utter crap. His full statement was much better, but in light of the first one, the damage is still done. I’m really disgusted with him for this, I thought he was better than that, but we are in the days of being disappointed by everyone.
    Absolutely investigate, and if there is cause, he should go. He has been a good senator, but more important is to be a good person.

  14. Kealeen says:

    I’m so angry at Al Franken, and hope he gets what he deserves. He was one of my favorites. On the first day of school, my mom used to teach her students the Stuart Smalley mantra: I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me. Now, it’s all tainted because he couldn’t treat a woman like a full human being.
    For what it’s worth, in reference to his harassment of the second accuser, he regularly went after men the same way (he challenged Rich Lowry to a fistfight in 2000). I’d highly recommend reading Erin Gloria Ryan’s piece in The Daily Beast about the second accusation.

  15. Heat says:

    His first ‘apology’ was terrible. Obviously he realized that, because he issued the second one, which was tremendously better, in my opinion.
    In this new era of women finding their voices and calling out their abusers, we women need to also have the strength to see it through to the end. It can’t be a #metoo mic-drop, any more.
    Ultimately, the final outcome is that no man feels that he has the right to violate any woman, ever. The ‘boys will be boys’ club needs to close shop. But, in order for that to happen, we have to help pave the way to get there.
    We need to encourage the men who are showing true remorse for their actions so that their voices are the ones that carry, not judge whether their apology was good enough (unless it wasn’t genuine) or scrap the apology, entirely, because it’s ‘too late’.
    If we can’t do that; if we constantly sit back and bash and judge the men who are trying to overcome what they have done, they may stop bothering. It will backfire on us and create more resentment than there ever was, before.

  16. Fed Up says:

    I did like the second apology until I got to the part where he still denies the aggressive, open mouthed kiss he subjected Leeann to during the skit rehearsal with her.
    “While I don’t remember the rehearsal of the skit as Leeann does…”
    I have a real problem with that quote because he is trying to imply Leeann is embellishing her account of what happened. I believe Leeann’s version of the rehearsal even more so after seeing that gross picture of him happily posing with her as he “jokingly” sexually assaults her while she sleeps. Sexual assault should never be portrayed in a joking manner. So done with these clueless, insensitive a**holes.

    • Betsy says:

      And if it turns out that the picture was staged with Tweeden’s participation?

      • Kitten says:

        Is someone saying this? I mean, that she agreed to the photo?

      • ArchieGoodwin says:

        yes Kitten, people are saying it was all staged, they were all in on it, and she was pretending to be asleep.

        The photographer is saying it. Franken is not, and that’s good he isn’t because it just screams of cover up.

      • Kitten says:

        Oh ok thanks, Archie. You also answered the question that I posed below so thanks for that as well.

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        @ArchieGoodwin
        I looked at the photo before reading the headline (clicked on the DM and the first thing my eyes landed on was the photo, I hadn’t heard anything about Franken groping anyone, etc)…….and I thought it was staged. He’s looking directly at the camera, and it’s so obvious.

      • QueenB says:

        Of course its staged in the sense that he wasnt accidentally caught on camera but she is sleeping. Thats why he called it a joke, he is clearly signalling to the camera that its funny to grab a sleeping womans breasts.

      • Va Va Kaboom says:

        Supposedly the photographer has come forward to say it was staged but its BS. In fact there are only three articles I could find talking about this rumor. One on HuffPost titled “The Framing of Al Franken By Two Trump Supporters” that has already been taken down. Another on DailyKos, in which they say the rumor it’s staged exists and cautions people. And finally something called twitchy.com. Literally nowhere else are people legitimately even discussing this and for good reason.

        First of all the person claiming to be the photographer and source of this rumor is still anonymous.

        Secondly, the USO cannot confirm who took the actual photo in the first place. So there is no way to verify this person’s claim even if his identity is revealed.

        Thirdly, while he denies taking this photo, the official photographer for the tour was Owen Franken… Al Franken’s brother.

    • cr says:

      ““While I don’t remember the rehearsal of the skit as Leeann does…”
      I have a real problem with that quote because he is trying to imply Leeann is embellishing her account of what happened. ”

      I’m reading his statement differently then. Because I read the entirety of his statement as understanding that just because he interpreted something one way doesn’t mean she did and that we, and he, need to understand and listen to women’s experiences and interpretations of those.

  17. Luca76 says:

    Can we admit there’s a difference between this and what Roy Moore did. It was sleazy, gross and inappropriate behavior that’s inexcusable but it’s not going after several high school girls and molesting/harassing them . There’s a little thing called proportion and perspective getting thrown out the window. And for me it’s not a political issue it’s just if you’re not accurate and proportional in describing crimes how can you actually be proactive about changing it? There is a difference between armed robbery and petty theft and that’s the problem right now we are painting everyone as the same. Let’s go after the rapists and child molesters first and hardest.

  18. THE OG BB says:

    I smell a rat and it’s not Al Franken. I know that won’t go over well on here, but this is looking more like a set up as time goes on. Leanne is a very right wing nut Foxbot who is a Hannity protege, having appeared on his show several times. Other people are saying the photo was staged and Leanne was pretending to be asleep. She apparently had been on lists of “the best boobs in show business” before and that’s what they were lampooning in the picture. Also the tongue in the mouth kiss was rehearsed and part of the act, and Leanne knew about it from rehearsals.
    Look who was loud about defending Roy Moore… Sean Hannity. I can see this lady saying hey I have this picture that makes Al Franken look bad, we can use this to get the heat off of Moore. Roger Stone knew ahead of time. The deplorables who were all over Twitter defending more are now calling out Franken. And now Trump is calling out Franken.
    I just want to add that originally I was just as incensed as everyone else here and wanted to cancel Franken. But the more I looked into this, the worse the whole thing smelled.

  19. Aang says:

    I think you can find bad behavior toward at
    Least one woman in the past of every man. A lot of it is played off as joking. We have to have a realistic idea of what we can expect. Every man can’t be fired or cancelled. If this ends a senate career, every man ever better start looking for plan b. I’m pissed as hell at Franken. But if she can forgive him, so can we.

    • JennyJenny says:

      I wholeheartedly agree.
      Everyone has a skeleton in their closet, so to speak. I’m not condoning what happened, but something is amiss.
      He was a WELL KNOWN comedian; and a photo taken while she was asleep? If someone had done that to me while I was asleep, I’d have woken up immediately. That happened 11 years ago and he was NOT in office. Aren’t people aren’t allowed to learn from their mistakes any longer?
      And everyone gets so riled up over this, yet Orangino Baby Fists just sits there enjoying this, when he’s the worst offender of them all.

      I have Stage 4 breast cancer and I just pray I live long enough to see Trump impeached ~

  20. Luca76 says:

    Separate issue but there’s a documentary about Roger Stone on Netflix. This guy was the youngest man named in the Watergate investigation and yes he’s been implicated in the Russia scandal. Totally with watching the doc and understanding who he is.

    • B n A fn says:

      Did anyone here watched morning joe this morning.? They had a spirited discussion about the sexual harassment and if all these claimed should be lumped in one big pile or are they difference degrees, eg child sexual abuse and kissing, touching in the work place. I was too busy to catch the entire show but I would love ❤️ to know if anyone saw the entire show.

      I believe Al gave an appropriate apology compared to Moore and the dotard calling the women liars. Someone on the morning joe wanted to know when an apology is made, what’s next. I’m thinking if the apology is not accepted then the accuser should report the crime and ash it out in court. For sure this is a teachable moment for both men and women in the workplace.

      Btw, yesterday when the dotard was holding his water bottle with both hands I was thinking he was nervous, shaking so he needed two hands to steady the bottle to his mouth, just a thought.

      • Esmom says:

        I didn’t see it but last when when I saw that Tweeden said she forgave him and didn’t want him to resign that seems like it should be the end. It’s the accuser who matters, right? That said, it’s interesting that she felt she had to accuse him publicly, if all she was looking for was an apology. She could have done that in private. That’s why I am starting to think this was indeed a set up.

        I also agree there are “degrees” of misconduct. Just as people have said there’s a difference between a killer and a serial killer.

    • Kitten says:

      That documentary is f*cking terrifying. I couldn’t sleep after I watched it.

  21. Anastasia says:

    TRUMPDOLT HAS NO MORAL AUTHORITY TO SAY *ANYTHING* ABOUT THIS.

  22. Lila says:

    I had so many mixed emotions about Al Franken yesterday, that I was grumpy and my husband sent me to my room.

  23. Originaltessa says:

    Just when I think it’s impossible for me to think Donald Trump could get any dumber, he goes and starts running his mouth again. Cancel him!

  24. B n A fn says:

    Did anyone here watched morning joe this morning.? They had a spirited discussion about the sexual harassment and if all these claimed should be lumped in one big pile or are they difference degrees, eg child sexual abuse and kissing, touching in the work place. I was too busy to catch the entire show but I would love ❤️ to know if anyone saw the entire show.

    I believe Al gave an appropriate apology compared to Moore and the dotard calling the women liars. Someone on the morning joe wanted to know when an apology is made, what’s next. I’m thinking if the apology is not accepted then the accuser should report the crime and ash it out in court. For sure this is a teachable moment for both men and women in the workplace.

    Btw, yesterday when the dotard was holding his water bottle with both hands I was thinking he was nervous, shaking so he needed two hands to steady the bottle to his mouth, just a thought.

    • Kitten says:

      I’m genuinely asking here so please go easy on me but what crime could he potentially be charged with? Taking a photo without consent? Forced kiss while rehearsing lines?
      The latter would seem to be incredibly difficult to prove as unless there witnesses, it would come down to he said/she said.

      • QueenB says:

        Franken will most likely not face any criminal charges but he is a good example why we must change the whole system. If a womans word is not good enough it means women are not good enough.

      • B n A fn says:

        I’m agreeing with you kitten about Al. What I wanted to know what’s the solution if the person refused the apology. I believe that’s what Mika was asking on the show today.

        Btw, I have read about Sly Stallone had raped a 16 yo years ago, she reported it to the police that Sly and his body guard raped her and it’s hardly a blimp on the news, it’s just Al all day. I’m not saying that they should not report on Al but Sly, that’s gross. There was also a story about Sly Stallone and his sister, she accused him of raping her for years, they settled in court for $2m plus. I believe that’s more offensive than Al, IMO.

      • magnoliarose says:

        How about Anthony Edwards? Nothing.
        You see how this is a problem? Rapists are getting no heat and Stallone is a huge pig that is worthy of a year of outings but we are focused on Al who has been forgiven.

        EMAILS!!!!! FFS.

      • lightpurple says:

        Franken committed no crime. Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal but not criminal unless it rises to the level of violence. This did not. And the punishment for such infractions is usually the employer pays whatever damages owed to the victim, all staff get re-trained on sexual harassment and the bad employee gets some form of discipline based upon company policy and previous discipline history such as a suspension.

        Moore and Trump are accused of crimes for which the punishment is prison.

  25. echoing says:

    I’ve heard that the person who took the photograph was Al Franken’s brother. That makes me wonder if there were more pictures that weren’t included on the CD Leeann Tweeden got. Owen Franken’s denied he took that picture but….

  26. EscapedConvent says:

    I think Al Franken’s apology is good and I think it’s sincere. To me, he is a good guy who did something stupid, and his actions do not remotely approach Roy Moore or President Scum, who have done perverted things to women for years.

    Trump has some ****ing nerve saying •anything• about •anyone• on this subject. He is a true pervert and abuser and should be impeached on this alone.

  27. Pandy says:

    Hmph. Watched her on CNN last night and you know, I don’t buy her. She’s also a republican. I think his not so funny in hindsight picture gave her ammo to embellish whatever she wanted. AF apology was as good as it could be but even he wouldn’t admit that it happened as she said. If other Women speak out against him I might reconsider but not this case. I smell a deliberate hatchet job.

    • nicole says:

      Pandy I agree, there is something off about her.

    • QueenB says:

      So we are now back at the beginning and we will disbelieve women and try to find things in her life or the way they speak to protect powerful men?

      You either believe women or you dont.

      Its shameful that all it took was a popular dem being accused for so many to start doubting.

    • robyn says:

      There are varying degrees of sexual misconduct and it doesn’t serve anyone well to lump everything in together. And it’s not as simple as you believe women or you don’t. Most women are credible but a tiny number of women lie for various reasons. There’s also room for interpretation in rare cases … people don’t always absorb events in the same way. Although Al Franken admits to events and it sounds totally believable that he was too forceful and grossed her out with a kiss, he remembers it from the perspective of a comedian who apparently has evolved. But if I were the suspicious sort, I would say, as the Trump/Moore supporters often do, Leeann Tweeden coming out the way she has … why now? Why now is because the “me too” chain has started and more women are emboldened and feeling believed.

  28. PlayItAgain says:

    I don’t think Al should resign. Depending on the results of the ethics investigation, censure may be appropriate. But unless there is evidence that he’s still behaving inappropriately toward women now, he shouldn’t resign.

  29. JennaR says:

    Don’t think this was posted already, but there is an interesting article in the Washington Post entitled “I’m a feminist. I study rape culture. And I don’t want Al Franken to resign.” http://wapo.st/2hyL9Mo?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.1b81477b90f9

  30. Starfish says:

    All of these men need to be held accountable. But the timing of this photo is suspicious. More women need to be elected in office. I’m still so sad about the elephant/lion trophy hunting being allowed in.

  31. Misty says:

    I think what we are seeing is that political affiliation has nothing to do with your level of douchery. A douche is a douche. I’m also seeing that those who have just straight up apologized seem to be getting more sympathy or forgiveness than those who stand by their innocence. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I like that he eventually gave a better apology, but is that trying to save his butt or real? Maybe a bit of both.

    Regardless, it was still a crap move. Trump tweets affect me little on this, mostly because I refuse to read his stupid ass social media posts. It distracts from the subject at hand, we already spent more time talking about those thasn how rude that photo is.

  32. Mel says:

    These comments about Trump are HILARIOUS coming from the party that worshipped at the alter of Bill Clinton for freaking decades.

    Trump is going nowhere, hypocrites.

    • robyn says:

      Indeed, Trump will be going nowhere once they stick him and his cohorts behind bars for treason against the USA.

    • Giddy says:

      So true @robyn. He has committed treason and will be renowned as the worst President in history.

    • Kitten says:

      What’s your address, Mel?
      I wanna send you an invitation to my Trump is Going to Prison party.

    • magnoliarose says:

      @Mel Those who laugh last laugh the longest and that won’t be you, my friend.
      Every single person I know in the tri-state area is very familiar with the Trump-Kushner cabal. We know about his long history of sexual harassment. His shady modeling agency. We know about Melania’s true origins and why her papers will never be shown. We know about the visa scams. We know about his habit of not paying his bills and stiffing small businesses daring them to sue him. We know he isn’t welcome in the dining rooms of nearly every respectable businessman of stature in New York. We know he is a joke in Palm Beach and that the stories of his vulgarity are so common people try to one-up each other with stories of their experiences. We know about his coked out hooker parties and sleazy “friends.” We know that if you ever see him in a restaurant, one look at his boorishness will turn you off food FOR LIFE and that his baby paws are soft creepy little curiosities. We know when he looks at you the urge to run under a hazmat shower is overwhelming. There are about a thousand other unsavory things we know, and so I wait, and when you realize who you have been counting on to MAGA, you may never have faith in humanity again.
      Lil tip-Save your MAGA gear that shizz will be collector’s items in say 250 years. You know archeological artifacts from the lost country that was called America.

  33. Elise says:

    Couple of observations:
    This picture was supposedly taken around Christmas on a flight back home.
    I note that the woman is dressed in a flak jacket, khakis, helmet. Combat-gear type clothing.
    The man, on the other hand, is dressed in a regular suit and tie. To me, this screams “this was a posed photo”.
    And if it WAS posed, what are the odds that the woman involved did not know EXACTLY what was going on, AND (because nobody is going to force her into khakis and a flak jacket) what kind of photos were going to be taken? “Here, Leeann, why don’t you just sit over there and pretend to be asleep in full battle gear, and we’ll just ignore you while we talk among ourselves.” Um, no.
    We also have a report, allegedly from the photographer involved, that the shoot involved “horseplay” and “everyone was having fun.” (Note that Leeann is also the woman who grabbed a soldier’s ass on stage during this tour. There’s video.)
    And third, there are reports the photo was tampered with. Now those reports I am extremely skeptical about, because nothing about the alleged “tampering” does anything whatsoever to excuse Franken’s boob-honk pose (in which, be it noted, he is not actually touching her, or even the flak jacket she’s wearing–I really wonder whether she’d have noticed if he DID touch her, if she WAS asleep, through that jacket).

    But. Someone took that photo, and evidently Leeann got a copy and sat on it for eight years. She released it now during the firestorm of revelations, and I guess I can see why she’d wait. But given the relatively innocuous nature of the photo, the report of the kiss is more important; and I would really like to know the names of EVERY man who “forced” that kind of kiss on this former Playboy bunny, before and after this photo was taken. I want to know why Franken was singled out. And the conclusion I come to is that yeah, Franken acted like a jerk on this occasion. His behavior does not come up to (or down to) the reported behaviors of, say, Trump and Moore; and it looks to me very much like a case of “Franken is beginning to make a real name for himself in Democratic politics and we’d better bring him down now.”

    And whether you like the man or not, you have to admit that so far he’s the ONLY accused who has asked for an Ethics Committee investigation on HIMSELF.

    • Giddy says:

      And possibly the reason Franken asked for the Ethics Committee investigation is that he knew that other photos existed and that they would come out. Photos of Leeann looking perfectly at ease with him in casual photos on the plane and just sitting around. The DM printed one of Leeann signing her picture and it was captioned that Franken was “leering” at her. Nope. Anyway could see that he was just sitting there looking kind of bored. Of course he was bored. Who wanted his autograph when a playmate was next to him? Then there’s the photo of Leeann on stage grabbing the ass of the guitarist next to her. Was that sexual assault? I always want to support other women, but this one I have a hard time believing. Was one kiss and a joke photo sexual assault? Was it so much worse than anything that happened to her while having her layout done? Was it worse than anything said or done during her Playboy appearances? Was it so bad that she sobbed about it on The View? This is a woman who has been on Hannity many times and who has worked for Fox. I think that she had an agenda and that she is going to be shown to be an exaggerator or a liar. I think that at the time Franken thought the photo was funny. After all this is the man who thought that the goofy Stuart Smiley was funny. IMO It is ludicrous to entertain the idea that Franken step down from office.

  34. S says:

    The video from the skit Leeann is referencing is online (see: https://twitter.com/PromoteMyCause/status/931967228085497856) along with several other videos of her on USO tours, all of which involve some sort of grabbing/touching AS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE SHOW, both before and after that tour with Franken, usually by Leeann to soldiers or other USO performers, including Robin Williams.

    See what you want in the skit with Franken that’s in question, but she clearly did not “turn her head to give him her cheek,” as she had stated, when Franken kissed her on stage. They did this performance more than once, and the kiss was full on the mouth every time it was documented. It was also in the script that he, “wrote it just to kiss her” … that was the whole schtick of the act, not some nefarious plan by Franken, and Leeann then says she’d rather kiss “one of these soldiers,” one of whom she then brings on stage and proceeds to kiss as well.

    I don’t think Leeann was sexually assaulting Robin Williams, or the soldiers, or anyone else. And, frankly, I don’t think Franken was sexually assaulting Leeann either.

    This clearly seems like a weaponized complaint from the Right, against the Left, and if it works against Franken (i.e. he resigns or is voted out), it will NOT stop there. I’m guessing you can find at least one or two inappropriate moments on just about every man over 25, let alone those over 50, because YES, there was definitely a time when a pat on the butt was considered complimentary, not creepy, by society at large. I don’t think we should return to those times, by any means, but to pretend it never existed is unrealistic.