Radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden has accused Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., of kissing and groping her more than a decade ago during a backstage rehearsal for a USO show.I wish that Al Franken would run again to be Minnesota’s US senator.
My bias is towards believing women when they allege inappropriate sexual overtures by male colleagues. But in the US Congress, if the offending party is asking for and publicly states his willingness to undergo a thorough ethics investigation by his peers, then that should be granted before he is subjected to the death penalty.
In this case, I have serious doubts about the context regarding the public unveiling of a provocative photo taken during a 2006 USO tour where Mr. Franken is shown touching Ms. Lee Ann Tweeden’s breasts while she’s fully clothed but appears to be asleep. It was this photo that was the catalyst for Senator Franken feeling forced to resign in the #Me,Too era, (12/ 2017) without any truth determining process. There were other women who came forward to tell of instances like an unwanted butt tap, an unsolicited kiss, etc. I’ll list the reasons for my doubts about the smoking gun compromising photo, below.
But just as there’s a difference between murder and shoplifting a piece of gum, there are differences when an adult participates in sexual inappropriate behaviors as in instances like a boss demanding sexual favors by an employee, and someone who’s accused of planting an unwanted pat on the butt of a female.
Contrary to the Democratic Party’s NY Senator Gillibrand’s desire for -0- tolerance for any and all sexual inappropriateness, there needs to be a conversation about what the consequences should be in each individual case with a sense towards proportionality. The standard should be to start with an ethics review for all those accused, before one’s resignation is required. Just as in any business environment, the offending party could face consequences from being given a warning to cease and desist from certain behaviors to being out-rightly fired, subsequent to an investigative process.
What’s worse is that Senator Gillibrand’s handling of a #Me,Too case regarding one of her staff, was very different from what she subjected Senator Franken to, for political expediency. The facts of this story are detailed below but, in short, the staffer who filed a sexual harassment complaint against the senator’s aide Abbas Malik, resigned because her assertions had not been given serious consideration. Mr. Malik was forced to resign only after there was proof provided about other similar allegations.
Here are the reasons I have doubts about that photo taken during a 2006 USO tour where Mr. Franken is shown touching Ms. Lee Ann Tweeden’s breasts while she’s fully clothed but appears to be asleep.
1.) Al Franken’s brother who took the photo describes the context of what happened very differently from Ms. Tweeden’s version.
2.) She had been a frequent guest of “Hannity” on Fox News.
3.) Does this have a familiar ring? As per a 11/16 Daily Caller report, “Famed Republican political operative Roger Stone knew that a news anchor would accuse Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of sexual assault.”
“Let’s just say Sen. Franken’s time in the barrel is about to come,” Stone told The Daily Caller over text early Thursday morning, hours before Leeann Tweeden came out with her claims.”
“Stone, a longtime political adviser to President Trump, is known for his “dirty tricks.” He did not elaborate to The DC how he knew Tweeden was going to come out with her claims”.
4.) Ms. LeeAnn Tweedon had a history of being in provocative photos in order to garner added publicity.
5.) Here’s a 12/6/2017 tweet by Tom Arnold that casts doubt on Ms. Tweeden’s assertions:
I’m disappointed with my friend Leeann Tweedon. Her partner at KABC John Phillips is a Roger Stone pal & they coached her for weeks to bring Al Franken down. I’d hoped she’d use her voice to speak out for all women again predators like Roy Moore & Donald Trump but she’s a birther
Here’s the rest of the story…
On March 11. 2019, Sarah Jones of New York Magazine penned the following report, “Kirsten Gillibrand Can’t Afford a #MeToo Problem”
“Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s early support for the resignation of Senator Al Franken cost her the backing of some major Democratic donors. But the NY Democrat now faces a sexual harassment crisis of her own, and the reverberations could jeopardize her new presidential campaign.”
“On 3/11/2019, Politico reported that Gillibrand continued to employ a male aide, Abbas Malik, after a female staffer reported him for sexual harassment. The female staffer eventually resigned. In a letter published by Politico, the woman told the senator’s top aides at the time that she had “trusted and leaned on this statement that you made: ‘You need to draw a line in the sand and say none of it is O.K. None of it is acceptable.’” But that doesn’t comport with the treatment she received in Gillibrand’s office, she says.”
“As I have long said, when allegations are made in the workplace, we must believe women so that serious investigations can actually take place, we can learn the facts, and there can be appropriate accountability,” Gillibrand told Politico in a statement. “That’s exactly what happened at every step of this case last year. I told her that we loved her at the time and the same is true today.”
“The aide, Malik, has since been fired, but Politico says the termination occurred after its reporters presented additional misconduct complaints to Gillibrand’s office. At least one of those complaints came from a source that Malik’s original accuser had told Gillibrand’s office to contact.”
“I knew that calling on Al Franken to resign was a risk, but silence wasn’t an option. I’m running for president to fight for a country that values women, and I’m ready to share this vision with the American people. Will you give $1 to help us bring our vision to the debate stage?”