Thursday, November 16, 2017

Al Franken Allegations

                Al Franken, self-proclaimed “Giant of the Senate,” took to that august body’s floor on March 6th of this year to chastise Republicans in general- and President Donald Trump in particular- on the evils of sexual harassment: “According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, at least 25 percent of American women say they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. And recent high-profile revelations about abuse — for example, former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes’ abuse of his employees, as well as the allegations of sex bias at Kay and Sterling Jewelers — demonstrate that we are far from addressing this issue on a broader scale. So, I urge my Republican colleagues to reconsider their support for this resolution. I urge them to not force vulnerable women who have been wronged into the dark and into forced arbitration.”
                And, just last month, Abby Honold, the Twin Cities woman who helped Senator Franken draft a new bill to aid victims of sexual assault, stood side-by-side with the former comedian at a press conference announcing the bill. Honold, 22, was raped by Daniel Drill-Mellum, who was once an intern for Franken, one reason why she first approached the Senator’s office.
                After the allegations of sexual harassment against Franken were recently leveled, she is now hoping someone else will champion the legislation.
                In 2006, Leeann Tweeden, a television host and sports broadcaster, was on her ninth USO tour to entertain our troops. Then comedian Al Franken was Also on the tour. Tweeden alleges he wrote a skit in which he directed Tweeden to kiss him, and repeatedly asked her to rehearse the bit. Tweeden demurred, but claims Franken came at her anyway, “put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.” She says she made sure she was never alone with Franken for the rest of the tour, but that, “The tour wrapped and on Christmas Eve we began the 36-hour trip home to L.A. After 2 weeks of grueling travel and performing I was exhausted. When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet.”
                It was at this point that the then-comedian and now-Senator from Minnesota was photographed cupping her breasts with his hands, head swiveled towards the camera, goofy grin on his face. When Tweeden finally saw the picture, she purportedly thought: “How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”
                Franken explained that some things he thought were funny when he was a comedian by trade he no longer thinks are funny now that he is in Congress. Which doesn’t explain why he tackled a Howard Dean protester, slamming him to the ground, in 2004.
                Fortunately for Franken, MSNBC, the same network that thought President Trump should be impeached for remarking, as a private citizen who had never been involved in politics at that point, that he could theoretically grab women’s crotches with impunity, took a much more sanguine view of Franken’s actual sexual harassment. That network’s Kasie Hunt described Franken’s actions thusly: “[Franken] took a picture, which his office now says was a joke, that showed him potentially—not actually groping—but mock-groping her while she was asleep.”

                Well, isn’t that special.

                Stuart Smalley? “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough…and, gosh darn it, women like me…to fondle them.”

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