Female Former Franken Staffers Say He Was A 'Champion For Women'
A group of women who have worked for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) defended their former boss’ treatment of women following a radio anchor’s bombshell allegation that he inappropriately kissed and groped her in separate incidents.
“Many of us spent years working for Senator Franken in Minnesota and Washington,” eight woman said in a statement released Friday. “In our time working for the Senator, he treated us with the utmost respect. He valued our work and our opinions and was a champion for women both in the legislation he supported and in promoting women to leadership roles in our offices.”
Franken performed on a USO tour in December 2006 ? when he was still a comedian ? with sportscaster and anchor Leeann Tweeden. He wrote a skit that involved a kissing scene, Tweeden said on Thursday, and asked to practice beforehand, at which point she said he kissed her forcefully.
?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 said.
Photos show a grinning Franken with his hands on her chest as she slept on the plane ride home.
Franken issued an apology on Thursday and called for an ethics investigation of his own behavior.
“I respect women,” Franken said in a statement. “I don’t respect men who don’t. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.