Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was accused Thursday of groping a female journalist while she slept and forcefully kissing her without her consent during a USO tour in 2006, almost immediately calling to attention a statement the senator released in October about similar inappropriate behavior from now-disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Journalist and talk radio host Leeann Tweeden published a story Thursday accusing the senator of intentionally writing a scene for a USO skit in which she would be forced to kiss him, while the pair were overseas in December of 2006.
“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,” Tweeden wrote. “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.”
Tweeden wrote that she felt “disgusted and violated” after the encounter, and attempted to avoid Franken for the rest of the tour.
Tweeden also alleged that Franken groped her breasts while she slept on the plane ride home from the tour, producing a photograph that appeared to clearly corroborate her story.
In a statement, Franken said he did not remember the incident “the same way” that Tweeden did, but offered his “sincerest apologies.”
“As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t,” he added. “I shouldn’t have done it.”
In October, Franken issued a strong condemnation of movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse.
“The women who have shared their stories about Harvey Weinstein over the last few days are incredibly brave. It takes a lot of courage to come forward, and we owe them our thanks,” Franken said at the time. “And as we hear more and more about Mr. Weinstein, it’s important to remember that while his behavior was appalling, it’s far too common.”
Franken added that the way women are treated when they go public with allegations of sexual misconduct “both embolden harassers and encourage victims to stay silent.”
“We must do something to address this all-too-common problem,” he said.
For more on Franken, read Breitbart News’s coverage here.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum