Leeann Tweeden is a sports radio host and a Californian TV star who has a passion for supporting the US troops, as she comes from a family of military men. Tweeden claims that the photo above was taken while she was asleep and she had no idea that the groping took place until after the trip when she reviewed some of the photos.
This was not the only incident that occurred on the trip. Tweeden claims that Franken wrote some of the scripts that they would do for the soldiers and one of them had a kiss between Franken and Leann. Tweeden alleges that before the skit involving the kiss Franken wanted to practice the kissing scene. Leann Tweeden a married woman told Franken, no but Franken wouldn’t stop pestering her for the kiss.
Tweeden claims that when she finally caved Franken grabbed her by the back of her head and pulled her into a kiss and tried to use tongue. Tweeden pushed her away and from that point forward did not have any voluntary interactions with Franken who was a Comedian at the time.
Franken responded to the allegation:
“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Franken said initially. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture.
I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster.
But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid.
Today, I am the news anchor on McIntyre in the Morning on KABC Radio in Los Angeles. My colleagues are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever worked with in my career. Like everyone in the media, we’ve been reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations since they broke, and the flood of similar stories that have come out about others.
A few weeks ago, we had California Congresswoman Jackie Speier on the show and she told us her story of being sexually assaulted when she was a young Congressional aide. She described how a powerful man in the office where she worked ‘held her face, kissed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth.’
At that moment, I thought to myself, Al Franken did that exact same thing to me.
I had locked up those memories of helplessness and violation for a long time, but they all came rushing back to me and my hands clinched into fists like it was yesterday.
I’m still angry at what Al Franken did to me.
Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour. I am angry that I didn’t call him out in front of everyone when I had the microphone in my hand every night after that. I wanted to. But I didn’t want to rock the boat. I was there to entertain the troops and make sure they forgot about where they were for a few hours. Someday, I thought to myself, I would tell my story.
That day is now.
Senator Franken, you wrote the script. But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.
You wrote the scene that would include you kissing me and then relentlessly badgered me into ‘rehearsing’ the kiss with you backstage when we were alone.
You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I wassleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.
While debating whether or not to go public, I even thought to myself, so much worse has happened to so many others, maybe my story isn’t worth telling? But my story is worth telling.
Not just because 2017 is not 2006, or because I am much more secure in my career now than I was then, and not because I’m still angry.
I’m telling my story because there may be others.
I want to have the same effect on them that Congresswoman Jackie Speier had on me. I want them, and all the other victims of sexual assault, to be able to speak out immediately, and not keep their stories –and their anger– locked up inside for years, or decades.