Franken's Past Sexual Humor Has Been Scrutinized Before

Sen. Al Franken D-Minnesota.. Credit Diego M. Radzinschi  ALM

Sen. Al Franken D-Minnesota.. Credit Diego M. Radzinschi ALM

A radio broadcaster accused US Senator Al Franken on Thursday of touching her chest while she slept and forcing a kiss on her in 2006 when he was still a comedian and the two were preparing to perform before US troops in the Middle East.

In lengthy remarks to the press Thursday, Tweeden said that she felt "violated" by Franken when he allegedly forcibly kissed her.

In a statement to Bustle, Franken says he does not remember the incident and that the photo was meant to be amusing.

"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". "As to the photo, it was clearly meant to be amusing but wasn't".

United States senator and former comedian Al Franken has issued an apology after being accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent.

Franken has apologized and and said that his recollection of the incident differs from the one presented by Tweeden.

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Tweeden wrote that she avoided Franken as much as she could during the rest of the tour, and made sure she was never alone with him. Even if some of Tweeden's allegations were rebuttable, the photo she released of a leering Franken placing his hands on her breasts as she slept on the military transport plane at the end of the tour is probably a career-ender for him. "Then he said it again", she wrote. "How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's amusing?"

"Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated", Tweeden wrote.

"To this day I talk about it and my hand clenches into a fist", Tweeden said.

Tweeden wrote in a column on Tuesday that Franken forcefully kissed her and groped her without permission in 2006. 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. He knew exactly what he did to me then, that picture was out there. "Why do you think there are people, there are still a lot of people who haven't told their stories", she said. "I was kind of a co-host with a handsome woman named Leeann Tweeden and we'd do comedy routines and introduce the music and introduce the cheerleaders". "It isn't amusing. It's completely inappropriate", he said. "I said something like, 'Relax, Al, this isn't [Saturday Night Live].we don't need to rehearse the kiss'".

"I had locked up those memories of helplessness and violation for a long time, but they all came rushing back to me and my hands clinched into fists like it was yesterday", Tweeden said.

"People make mistakes. I'm not calling for him to step down".

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