Model and news anchor Leeann Tweeden set the internet on fire on Thursday when she revealed her stunning claim that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) kissed and groped her without her consent during a USO Tour in the Middle East in 2006.
Tweeden said Franken wrote some skits for the USO show, one of which included a scene that had her kissing the then-comedian. Before the show, she said Franken was insistent that they “rehearse” the kiss, making her extremely uncomfortable, according to her recounting of the event:
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then 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.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.
I felt disgusted and violated.
During future performances of the kiss, she turned her head so Franken couldn’t kiss her on the lips.
However, it got even worse.
Tweeden recalled coming across a horrifying photo of Franken groping her chest over a flak vest after she fell asleep during a grueling 36-hour trip back to Los Angeles. She uncovered the photo while going through a CD of photos taken by the photographer on the trip.
“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” Tweeden wrote. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated. How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?"
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Tweeden, now a news anchor on KABC radio in Los Angeles, said she felt compelled to expose Franken’s actions after Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) revealed on her show that a “powerful man” in the congressional world once “held her face, kissed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth.”
Franken quickly responded to the shocking claims in a statement:
Statement from @SenFranken: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it.” https://t.co/aWz9nGS5Sy
— FOX 9 (@FOX9) November 16, 2017
The anchor said she always knew she’d tell the story eventually.
“That day is now,” she wrote.