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Al Franken apologizes after groping, kissing accusation

17 November 2017, 12:27 | Bernice Figueroa

US senator Al Franken apologises after accusation of groping

Public Apologies Are Meaningless Theater

The allegations against Franken come at a time when Congress is conducting a review of its policy for addressing sexual harassment and how it handles complaints.

Also, someone took a photo of Franken groping her while she slept, which she didn't see until after the conclusion of the USO tour.

A Los Angeles radio host has accused the "Saturday Night Live" alum of forcefully kissing her and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept, leading Franken to publicly apologize and welcome an investigation.

Franken said he intended for the photo to be amusing, but it wasn't.

In an article on Thursday morning, 790 KABC news anchor Leeann Tweeden alleged that Sen. Franken is shown standing over her, appearing to be groping her chest.

The video only shows a brief portion of their skit, which Tweeden says Franken forced her to rehearse.

Tweeden says Franken wrote a skit for the pair during a 2006 USO tour to the Middle East and insisted they practice a kiss during rehearsal.

The photo that she included was taken on the trip home from Afghanistan.

Tweeden said Franken, a writer and actor who had not yet been elected to the Senate, had prepared skits for the two to perform. But she claimed that Franken wrote a moment into the script where his character "comes at me for a "kiss".

"Nothing like that is ever amusing", she said. There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. Other senators, including Democratic senators Kristen Gillibrand and Tammy Duckworth, spoke out about the incident and supported an ethics investigation into Sen.

Democratic and GOP leaders are now calling for a Senate ethics investigation, which Franken says he will cooperate with.

At the time, Franken was performing as a professional comedian before running for the Senate.

"So I don't know what locker room - he may work out with Roger Ailes", he joked.

But on the day of the show, Tweeden wrote, she was alone with Franken backstage when he told her, "We need to rehearse the kiss".

"I'm telling my story because there may be others", she said.

"He walked up to me, found me in a room, and said hello to me and I was very cold to him", she said. It isn't amusing. It's completely inappropriate. "Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable - in the workplace or anywhere else", he said.

And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. She recalled agreeing "so he would stop badgering me".

"People make mistakes", she replied.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) have both called on either sitting Democratic senators or various Democratic candidates for the U.S. House to return campaign contributions they have received from Franken.

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