Senator Al Franken Apologizes For Groping And Forcibly Kissing Leeann Tweeden

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

Senator Al Franken has apologized after being accused of groping and kissing a newscaster in 2006 without her consent. As the The New York Times reports, the Democrat from Minnesota was accused by Leeann Tweeden of groping her during a 2006 USO tour in the Middle East. She shared her story along with a photo. She said that Franken forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal and groped her as she slept.

Tweeden said that she was working on a skit with Franken. According to her, "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."

She continued, "I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time. I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth. I felt disgusted and violated."

Tweeden also said that on their flight back to the United States from Afghanistan, she fell asleep, and the photo of Franken grabbing her breasts was taken.

The Democrat issued an apology for his actions: “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,” Franken wrote. 

“I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t,” he continued. “And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”

At the time, Franken was a comedian and not a politician. He says that in hindsight, he doesn't "remember the rehearsal," but apologizes nonetheless. Franken also asks that an ethics investigation be taken and he will "gladly cooperate."

[Photo: Getty Images]

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