The fabric of the nation’s attitude about sexual abuse of women has torn, and it will never be the same. Republican Senate candidate and alleged pedophile, Roy Moore, kicked off the political ball. Now, Democrats, such as Al Franken, have to answer to accusations against themselves, too.
Franken came into the Senate for two terms after a highly successful career as a comedian, actor, and author. Recently, a photo emerged of him pretend-groping a Los Angeles radio talk show host, Leeann Tweeden during an USO tour.
She also claimed that Franken kissed her aggressively during the 2006 USO tour. This was prior to his election to the Senate. She also posted the photo of Franken hamming for the camera, while holding his hand above her chest as she slept.
Franken sent her a written apology, which she accepted. Tweeden also said that she did not want to ruin his career or have him resign.
On Sunday Franken called the photo “inexcusable,” according to MPR News.
‘I am ashamed of that photo. You know she didn’t have any ability to consent. She had every right to feel violated by that photo.’
Franken also said that he does not remember the event as she does, but he still took full responsibility.
After Tweeden came forward, the Minnesota senator immediately apologized and asked that the Ethics Committee investigate him. After the first accusation, three other women came forward claiming that he groped their buttocks during picture taking. Franken went silent for a week and one half.
He broke his silence over the weekend, speaking to several of his state’s media, including MPR News:
‘I’m going to do my job and I’m going to go forward. I’m going to take responsibility. I’m going to be held accountable and I’m going to try to be productive in the way I speak about this.’
Franken told the interviewers that he has apologized to his accusers and was taking responsibility for his behavior:
‘I have been reflecting on this. I want to be a better man.’
Both Roy Moore and Donald Trump have followed a different playbook after many women alleged the men sexually abused them. Deny. Deny. Deny.
The MPR interviewer asked Franken if other accusers could come forward, he said he could not say:
‘This has been a shock to me.’
Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto has called for him to step down, as have many of his opponents and even a few of his supporters.
Franken told MPR News, that he has not considered resigning. Instead, he is leaving it up to the Ethics Committee to do its work:
‘The Ethics Committee is looking into all of this and I will cooperate fully with it. I know I have a lot of work to do to regain the trust of people I’ve let down.’
The senator was back at the Senate Monday. He said he will be fighting the GOP tax bill, and he intends to continue with his Senate committee hearings as before.
Franken recently released another book, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. He canceled his Atlanta sold-out book promotion appearance last week. His aides said that:
‘(He was) “spending time with his family and doing a lot of reflecting.’
Linsay Menz claimed that Franken squeezed her buttocks, while he was posing for a picture with her at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. The Senator did not recall the photo, because he has posed for thousands of them, but he was sorry that Menz felt “disrespected.”
Huffington Post published a story last week with two anonymous women telling a similar story. They said the events occurred in Minneapolis in 2007 and 2008.
Franken responded, saying he would “never intentionally do that:”
‘I’m someone who, you know, hugs people. I’ve learned from these stories that in some of these encounters I have crossed the line for some women.’
Featured Image via Getty Images/Cindy Ord.