Franken sex scandal: Damning optics and a tepid first apology

The U.S. senator faces sharp criticism for his behavior during a 2006 USO tour in which a fellow performer says he assaulted her. His second apology invited an ethics panel investigation.

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Another woman has come forward with a story of sexual misconduct—against a surprising target.

This time the accused is Democratic junior U.S. senator from Minnesota and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Al Franken. The progressive politician took two tries to find the proper response—and some still find his statements lacking and are calling for his resignation.

In a post published by her radio station, Leann Tweeden described how, during a 2006 tour with the USO, Franken kissed her during a sketch rehearsal, forcing his tongue in her mouth against her will.

Tweeden wrote:

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.

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.

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