Al Franken Apologizes After Radio Host Accuses Him of Unwanted Groping, Kissing

Leeann Tweeden said she and the senator were working together during a USO tour.

November 16, 2017 3:11 pm
Al Franken
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks at a news conference about the Child Care for Working Families Act at the U.S. Capitol September 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Congressional Democrats are hoping to make child care a central plank of their "Better Deal" package of legislation. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Senator Al Franken has apologized after TV and radio host Leeann Tweeden accused him of groping and kissing her without her consent while traveling together in 2006, reports Variety

Tweeden, who currently works on McIntyre in the Morning on KABC/790 AM, talked about the alleged account in an essay on the Los Angeles radio station’s website. She claims that the two of them were practicing a skit while working together during a USO tour of the Middle East. The former comedian insisted on rehearsing a kiss from the sketch, despite Tweeden’s refusal, writes Variety. Tweeden said that she had planned to deny his advances on stage during the skit by turning away or putting her hand over her mouth, “to get more laughs from the crowd,” and thought practicing the bit was “unnecessary.”

“He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable,” Tweeden, a former model, wrote, according to Variety. “He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. 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 also posted a picture of what appears to be Franken cupping Tweeden’s breasts while she’s asleep, wearing a vest and helmet. According to Variety, Tweeden was unaware the photograph was being taken while on the plane ride home to Los Angeles.

“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” she said, according to Variety. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”

Franken is a former Saturday Night Live star. He was elected to the Senate in 2009, and he apologized for the incident, reports Variety. However, he says that his recollection of the incident is different than Tweeden’s.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” he said, according to Variety. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is calling for an ethics committee investigation of the Minnesota senator in light of the accusation.

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