Senator Al Franken (D-MN) issued a statement Thursday apologizing to journalist Leeann Tweeden after she accused the Democrat of grabbing her breasts while she was sleeping and forced his tongue into her mouth.
“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 it wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it,” wrote Franken.
Frank Thorp V of NBC News shared the statement in a tweet:
NEW Stmt from @SenFranken: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann.”
Says he “shouldn’t have done” the picture. pic.twitter.com/cJ0avgDroM
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) November 16, 2017
Tweeden, a journalist who anchors the morning news at TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles, CA, is accusing Franken of fondling her while asleep and shoving his tongue down her throat without her consent.
At the time, December of 2006, Tweeden had a boyfriend (who is now her husband) and was on a two-week USO Tour with the then-55-year-old Franken and others. Included in her article is a photograph that clearly shows the Democratic senator grabbing her breasts while she is asleep.
According to Tweeden, the unwanted kiss occurred during a rehearsal for a USO skit. She believes Franken (who was married) intentionally wrote a skit for the two of them so he would have an excuse to kiss her, something she did not want to do. She says that Franken repeatedly insisted they rehearse until she relented. This is when she alleges he “aggressively” shoved his tongue into her mouth:
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.