Franken Apologizes To L.A. News Anchor Tweeden


KABC morning news anchor Leeann Tweeden said in a post on KABC-AM’s website that she felt “disgusted and violated” after Al Franken, back in 2006, forced a kiss on her as they prepared for an appearance on a USO tour. She writes that Franken, then a comedian and now a U.S. senator, insisted on rehearsing a kiss he’d written into a skit for Tweeden and himself, and that 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 also posted an image from the tour’s flight home from Afghanistan on her KABC blog

Picture courtesy

in which a grinning Franken is touching her breasts as she sleeps. Tweeden wrote that, on seeing the picture, “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.”

Tweeden said that, although she was angry and embarrassed, she was afraid of “the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster,” and continued, “But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid.” 

Franken — who himself is a former radio personality — initially released a brief statement saying he “certainly doesn’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann.” About the photo, he said, “It was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

Earlier today, he expanded on the apology on Facebook, writing, “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. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine—is: I’m sorry.”

He reiterated that he remembers the rehearsal differently, but added, “I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.”

On the photo: “For instance, that picture. I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate. It’s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called for an Ethics Committee investigation, and Franken said he would welcome such an investigation.


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