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Al Franken accused of sexual misconduct

Minnesota+state+Senator+Al+Franken+was+recently+accused+of+sexual+assault+against+two+women.
Minnesota state Senator Al Franken was recently accused of sexual assault against two women.

Minnesota state Senator Al Franken was recently accused of sexual assault against two women.

Fair Use Images: Instagram

Fair Use Images: Instagram

Minnesota state Senator Al Franken was recently accused of sexual assault against two women.

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Sexual misconduct allegations and claims have flooded the news headlines across the country as women continue to step forward. Both male political figures and male Hollywood persona have come under fire after being accused of sexual misconduct and rape. One of these male political figures to be met with accusations is Minnesota’s own state Senator Al Franken. Now, two women have claimed that Al Franken inappropriately touched, grabbed or kissed them.

The first woman to come forward was Leeann Tweeden, a radio host in Los Angeles and model who was part of the United Service Organizations Inc., which entertains and performs for The United States Armed Forces. NPR reported about how Franken allegedly coerced and forced her to kiss him. He claimed he was practicing for an onstage kiss, but quickly took it too far with Tweeden, before she pushed him off of her. She wrote a post for the radio station where she works and released an image where she was asleep and Franken had his hands over her breasts, grabbing them while turning to the camera with a wide smile on his face. Tweeden feared speaking out for many years, but this claim comes amidst many others about sexual harassment and rape in Hollywood and the political world, both are areas in which Franken was or is involved with.

The second woman to come forward was Lindsay Menz who says that Franken placed his hand firmly on her buttocks while taking a photograph. In the summer of 2010, she was at the state fair where she took a photograph with Franken; this is when the incident occurred.

Menz told CNN that Franken “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear … It wasn’t around my waist. It wasn’t around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt,” Menz said.

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.”

— Al Franken

Menz posted the photo soon after her visit to the state fair on Facebook, but only now is her story gaining more turmoil as more women gain courage and support to speak out about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault.

Franken has issued several public statements and apologies, and in both cases he claims not to recall the interactions as the women did but apologized for causing them discomfort. In a Facebook post, Franken states “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.”

However, many people believe Franken, Senator since 2009, should resign from his position. He has stated that he is comfortable with an ethics investigation, but will not step down from his role on Senate.

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About the Writer
Ellie Nowakowski, Rubicon TV Producer

Ellie Nowakowski is the Executive producer of Rubicon TV. This is her fourth year on staff. She appreciates how journalism has the power to inform and influence people on a variety of topics. In addition to Ellie’s role on staff, she is a co-president of Community Action and Service club, a captain of the Girls Varsity Tennis team and part of the debate team. Ellie can be reached at rubicon.spa@gmail.com.

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