Leeann Tweeden posted a photograph on Thursday of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) inappropriately touching her, days after Congress acknowledged that there’s a sexual harassment problem on Capitol Hill, the Washington Post reported.
“You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed,” Tweeden, a broadcaster at KABC in Los Angeles, blogged.
She stated that the incident happened in 2006 during a USO tour to entertain U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan. Franken, who had not yet been elected to the Senate, was an Air America radio host at the time. Tweeden recalled that the former “Saturday Night Live” writer and actor had written a skit with sexual innuendo for them to perform for the troops. He wrote a kiss into the skit and pressured her to practice kissing during rehearsals. On one occasion he forcibly kissed her, and another time had himself photographed groping her. Tweeden said he decided to share this story because Franken may have sexually harassed others.
The senator said in a statement that he doesn’t recall the rehearsal the same way as she described it. However, he extended his “sincerest apology to Leeann,” adding that the photo was “clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t.” This comes after a congressional hearing in which lawmakers publicly discussed sexual harassment that occurs on Capitol Hill. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced mandatory anti-sexual harassment training for lawmakers and staff. A petition was circulating, signed by more than 1,500 former congressional employees, that called on congressional leaders to require the training.