26 Women Respond To The Al Franken Accusations: "It Ain't Over"
As the national conversation about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment continues, more and more women are standing up to say, "Enough." On Thursday, radio newscaster and former model Leeann Tweeden went public with allegations that Democratic Sen. Al Franken kissed and groped her without her consent more than 10 years ago and roughly two years before Franken was elected to the Senate. In the wake of the allegations against the congressman, many women have expressed outrage, disgust, and sometimes a desire to see the Democratic senator out of office.
In a blog post published Thursday, Tweeden alleged Franken had forcibly kissed her and pretended to grope her while she slept for a photo while the two participated in a USO tour in the Middle East in 2006. Sen. Franken issued two apologies to Tweeden almost immediately amid mounting condemnation and calls for an ethics investigation from members of his own party. In his second, lengthier apology, Franken said there was "no excuse" for his behavior and added he would "gladly cooperate" with an ethics investigation if one was launched.
Tweeden has since said she has accepted Franken's apology and is not calling for him to resign. "I'm not calling on him to step down," Tweeden told reporters at a press conference Thursday. "That's not my place."
But some women have called for Franken to resign, noting that when it comes to standing against sexual harassment and assault, someone's political affiliation doesn't matter.
Here's how women in Congress, in Hollywood, and across the country have reacted to the allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Sen. Franken:
Al Franken should resign. Roy Moore should drop out. Bill Clinton should stop talking. And we should elect some more damn women.— Emily Farris (@emayfarris) November 16, 2017
Twitter user Emily Farris called for Franken to resign and for voters to elect more women to public offices.
I told y’all it would be faster to ask which men haven’t sexually assaulted or harassed someone.— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) November 16, 2017
It ain’t over. https://t.co/XTjOkSB8Ku
"It would be faster to ask which men haven't assaulted or harassed anyone," Brittany Packnett, known for her involvement in the Ferguson protests and as a co-founder of Campaign Zero, wrote in a tweet.
Sen. Maria Cantwell
Re: Al Franken – Treating all women with dignity is of paramount importance. These actions are disturbing. I support an ethics committee investigation into this matter.— Sen. Maria Cantwell (@SenatorCantwell) November 16, 2017
In a statement released via Twitter, Sen. Maria Cantwell characterized Sen. Franken's alleged actions as "disturbing" and voiced her support for an ethics committee investigation into them.
Sen. Claire McCaskill
Re Al Franken: I’m shocked and concerned. The behavior described is completely unacceptable. Comedy is no excuse for inappropriate conduct, and I believe there should be an ethics investigation.— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) November 16, 2017
Sen. Claire McCaskill also voiced her support for an ethics investigation, adding that the alleged behavior was "completely unacceptable" and "comedy is no excuse."
Zero tolerance. If we don’t hold all accountable for horrible behavior — nothing changes. Sorry, @SenAlFranken you should not be in a position to represent the female constituents in your state. https://t.co/MrJi7QKCu1— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) November 16, 2017
In the wake of Tweeden's allegations, actress Alyssa Milano has said Franken should "not be in a position to represent the female constituents" in his district.
I absolutely condemn Al Franken for what he did. Now, it's time for conservatives to believe the many women who've accused Trump of sexual assault. #MeToo— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) November 16, 2017
Kelly Ellis, who spoke out about reoccurring sexual harassment at Google in 2015, condemned Sen. Franken and urged conservatives to stand behind all women sharing stories of sexual assault or misconduct.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
INBOX: Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Statement on Sen. Franken pic.twitter.com/KOIsOYmO0f— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) November 16, 2017
Sen. Elizabeth Warren released a statement condemning Franken's alleged behavior as "unacceptable and deeply disappointing." Warren also noted that women who come forward with sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct claims "are brave and deserve to be respected."
Ethics investigation into Al Franken should encompass all accused members of congress and @realDonaldTrump. I'd like a full accounting of where the $15 million Jackie Speier was talking about went.— Heather Whaley (@HeatherWhaley) November 16, 2017
Actress and writer Heather Whaley called for an ethics investigation that includes not only the allegations recently brought against Sen. Franken but also those against President Donald Trump.
And sexually assaulting a sleeping woman is funny how? Who thinks that shit is funny? https://t.co/roGN1ZB4Db— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) November 16, 2017
Actress Gabrielle Union questioned Franken's initial excuse for his behavior by wondering who exactly would find sexually assaulting a sleeping woman funny.
Sen. Maggie Hassan
The conduct described here is completely unacceptable and must be taken extremely seriously. Actions like that weren't funny then and they aren't funny now. I fully support an ethics committee investigation. https://t.co/zAoQeblrHj— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) November 16, 2017
In a statement released Thursday, Sen. Maggie Hassan said the allegations against Franken must be "taken extremely seriously."
What Al Franken did was heinous.— Melinda Byerley (@MJB_SF) November 16, 2017
And as survivor of sexual assault at age 9 + later as a grown woman, his apology is very sincere to me-if he has not been repeating the behavior since. He fights for my rights now-that matters to me.
Justice without mercy is not justice.
Twitter user and self-described sexual assault survivor Melinda Byerley, said she felt Franken's apology sounded sincere. "Justice without mercy is not justice," she tweeted.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto
This is deeply disappointing and this type of behavior is unacceptable. I support the Ethics Committee process and investigation into this inappropriate conduct. I expect to hear more from Sen. Franken. https://t.co/stSf3pdY0a— Senator Cortez Masto (@SenCortezMasto) November 16, 2017
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said the allegations against her fellow Democratic senator were "deeply disappointing," adding that the behavior described was "unacceptable."
They're about to get Al Franken outta here.— April (@ReignOfApril) November 16, 2017
April predicted Tweeden's allegations may have put Sen. Franken on the fast track out of the Senate.
Sen. Kamala Harris
Here's @SenKamalaHarris on Franken: “Sexual harassment, misconduct, should not be allowed by anyone and it should not occur anywhere against anyone.”— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) November 16, 2017
Called it "very troubling" & would get back to us on supporting ethics probe.
In a statement shared with reporter Paul Kane, Sen. Kamala Harris refrained from saying whether or not she supported launching an ethics investigation into Franken but noted "sexual harassment, misconduct, should not be allowed by anyone and it should not occur anywhere against anyone."
Al Franken should resign.— Holly O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) November 16, 2017
Trump should be impeached.
Bill Clinton should play golf for the rest of his life.
Roy Moore should drop out of the race.
And it's time for women to take over.
This is not a D or R issue.
Now it's time to #ElectWomen
Holly O'Reilly said Sen. Franken should resign and Trump, who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment from at least 16 women, should be impeached.
Sen. Patty Murray
This is unacceptable behavior and extremely disappointing. I am glad Al came out and apologized, but that doesn’t reverse what he’s done or end the matter.— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) November 16, 2017
While Sen. Patty Murray said she was glad to see Sen. Franken had apologized to Tweeden, his apology "doesn't reverse what he's done or end the matter."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who represents Minnesota with Franken: "This should not have happened to Leeann Tweeden." pic.twitter.com/Y5ucH7jehu— Emma Loop (@LoopEmma) November 16, 2017
"This should not have happened to Leeann Tweeden," Franken's fellow Minnesota senator, Amy Klobuchar, said in a statement strongly condemning the alleged behavior. "This is another example of why we need to change work environments and reporting practices across the nation, including in Congress."
I’ve done this exact tour. Not w Al, but same singer, same aircraft etc. Yes, it’s a war zone & heightened atmosphere. Verrrry boys club, but this is WAY wrong. Not a dem/rep issue. Minn should get a kick ass dem to replace him. No slut shaming here, Leeann. https://t.co/UXkuLsIOkr— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) November 16, 2017
Comedian Kathy Griffin, who is no stranger to controversy herself, stressed that sexual misconduct should not be a partisan issue.
Chilling in the "Al Franken is behind this and torpedoing his own career to get Republicans to grandstand and then be trapped into calling for TRUMP's resignation" stage of grief.— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) November 16, 2017
Bess Kalb jokingly detailed the stages of grief that had come along with the allegations against Franken.
Hey, people: Not sure what Al Franken being a "Hillary supporter" or a "corporatist shill" has anything to do with the accusations against him— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) November 16, 2017
Here's a thought: Let's focus on how his alleged victim must be feeling instead of spinning this to square with your political beliefs
Twitter user Emma Vigeland urged others to stop attempting to put a political spin on the issue.
Al Franken is great reminder that the real proof of your character is how you behave when your allies are revealed to be just as disgusting as your enemies.— ella dawson (@brosandprose) November 16, 2017
Twitter user Ella Dawson noted that the allegations against Sen. Franken were "a great reminder that the real proof of your character is how you behave when your allies are revealed to be just as disgusting as your enemies."
Franken in particular feels like a huge betrayal. The more men do this, the more women will feel like we have nowhere to turn and no one to trust, especially as long as men continue to disproportionately hold positions of power. https://t.co/NqAgHgIYps— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) November 16, 2017
Melissa McEwan noted that Sen. Franken "in particular feels like a huge betrayal," adding that "the more men do this, the more women will feel like we have nowhere to turn and no one to trust."
i don't even know what to say about #AlFranken, except that I'm sending love to everyone who has ever been taken advantage of. It ain't just him, but it shouldn't be anyone. That's the point. Everyone deserves dignity. #MeToo— Alicia Garza (@aliciagarza) November 16, 2017
Twitter user Alicia Garza voiced her support for Tweeden and others speaking out about sexual assault and misconduct.
What we've seen from some politicians the past few weeks is disgusting, regardless of partisanship. Their victims deserve better, women deserve better, the American people deserve better. #AlFranken #RoyMoore— Britt McHenry (@BrittMcHenry) November 16, 2017
"What we've seen from some politicians the past few weeks is disgusting, regardless of partisanship," Britt McHenry wrote in a tweet. She added that women and the American people deserved better.
Kambree Kawahine Koa
People are finally realizing how our senators job works.— Kambree Kawahine Koa (@KamVTV) November 16, 2017
We elect them and then they do what ever the heck they want. #AlFranken
Twitter user Kambree Kawahine Koa voiced a belief that senators were getting to "do whatever the heck they want."
Here's what I want from @alfranken— Kate Harding (@KateHarding) November 16, 2017
1) Agree not to run in 2020
2) Go on a listening tour to find out what MN women need, and fight for as much of it as possible between now and then.
3) Endorse a qualified woman to run for his seat in 2020. Campaign like hell for her.
And Kate Harding had three requests for Sen. Franken. At the top of the list? Don't run for re-election in 2020.