Sen. Al Franken has apologized to a radio host who claims he kissed her without her consent, and posted a photo of him groping her while they were on a USO tour in the Middle East in 2006.
Leeann Tweeden wrote about her tour with Franken on Los Angeles talk-radio KABC’s website. She said Franken, the former comedian best known early in his career as a Saturday Night Live writer and performer from the mid-’70s through the late ’90s before being elected the the U.S. Senate in 2008, was the headliner, she said.
Franken had written some skits for the show which, she wrote, “like many USO shows before and since were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.”
“As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along,” Tweeden wrote.
Franken had written a moment when he would come at her for a kiss. She claimed she intended to turn her head at the last minute “to get more laughs from the crowd,” but that Franken repeatedly insisted on rehearsing the kiss, until she finally agreed “so he would stop badgering me.”
Franken put “his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth,” she wrote, adding she pushed him away, warned him never to do it again and walked to the bathroom to “rinse the taste of him out of my mouth” feeling “disgusted and violated.”
On the flight home from Afghanistan, she wrote, “I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet. It wasn’t until I was back in the U.S. and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one.”
Franken has issued a statement: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” he said.
“As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”