Al Franken was a professional comedian at the time he and Tweeden were together on a USO tour in 2006. I won’t pretend there’s a clear and obvious answer to that question, but I do think there’s a better way to try to answer it. Then-Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota on Dec. 7, 2017, in Washington. Near the beginning of her piece, Mayer describes Franken as a man “on the losing side of the #MeToo movement.” To me, this was a jarring, reductive framing of a powerful push for social change, one that has demanded women revisit, reevaluate, and lay bare their most painful memories. I hope and expect that the Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as they should with any credible allegation of sexual harassment.”. Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer also called for investigation, writing on Twitter that, “Sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated. The fake boob-grabbing was part of the skit, too. For me at least, it’s easy to imagine this same set of facts in a much different piece, one that gives more weight to the fact that Franken posed for a boob-grabbing photo with a sleeping co-star and proudly admitted to making another pair of co-workers the objects of his sexual interest than it does to the approving testimony of his friends. So, which is it—a totally normal thing New Yorkers do or an abnormal thing that skeeves people out? By signing up you are agreeing to our, Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know now on politics, health and more, © 2020 TIME USA, LLC. If Franken resigned too hastily, that’s not the fault of the #MeToo movement, nor of the female senators who were repulsed by a compromising photo and by an allegation from a Democratic Senate staffer some of them knew. Mayer also quotes many, many men, plus some women, who assert that Franken has neither harassed them nor, to their knowledge, anyone they know. “I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd,” she said. Both Franken and Biden have described themselves as serial huggers whose charisma is inextricable from the down-home physicality they bring to their interactions with everyday people. Tweeden wrote that her confession was inspired by the wave of women sharing their experiences with sexual assault in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and that she hopes sharing her story will make other women feel comfortable enough to do the same. Tweeden wrote in a post published Thursday on KABC’s website that Franken included in the script a kiss between the duo. When he got home from that tour, he wrote, he was planning to “have sex with [his] wife—while thinking about the cheerleaders.”. When we’re thinking about Franken’s fate, it’s dangerous to overemphasize Tweeden’s motivations and, A grassroots movement against sexism and abuse has no winners and, 100 Percent Pure American Political Cheese, The Town Halls Were Previews of Two Possible Futures, Ben Sasse, Trump’s Most Crucial Enabler, Pretends He Wouldn’t Do It All Again if He Had the Chance, Swing State Tracker: No Pressure, Pennsylvania, but the World’s Fate Rests on You. While it’s fair of Mayer to document how Tweeden misrepresented Franken’s actions, she also includes another set of explanations that come off more like familiar attempts to discredit a victim of sexual harassment. Nothing that Mayer debunks gets to the heart of why Franken resigned, or even really speaks to detractors’ interpretation of his behavior. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else,” McConnell said in a statement. While Franken’s conservative critics did certainly conflate his case with far more egregious ones, a huge number of his critics did not. “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. Is being removed from one of the most powerful positions in America akin to “capital punishment,” as one of Franken’s former Senate colleagues suggests? Franken, in his statement, said he is asking for and will fully cooperate with an ethics investigation. “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,” he wrote in a statement. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls.

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