'I've Carried It for So Long': Leeann Tweeden Speaks After Franken Accusations
TV host and radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden has accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of kissing and groping her without her consent in 2006.
Tweeden on Thursday said Franken forcibly kissing her during a rehearsal for a skit during a USO Tour in Afghanistan and then groping her as she slept during a flight back to the U.S.
— Leeann Tweeden (@LeeannTweeden) November 16, 2017
In an interview with Fox 11, Tweeden described how Franken insisted they practice a kiss during rehearsal.
"He came at me and before I even knew it, he put his hand on the back of my head and came towards me and mashed my face against my mouth and stuck his tongue in my mouth," Tweeden said. "I sort of pushed him back and I said, 'Don't ever do that to me again. I was so angry and I walked out of there."
After the tour, Tweeden said she saw a photo of Franken groping her breasts over her flak vest while she was asleep on the flight home.
"It's just the combination of sticking his tongue down my throat and then the photo I would see after I got home and just how he treated me on the entire trip," Tweeden said.
She said she decided to share her story now because times have changed, and she wanted to do what she could to make sure this never happens to anyone else.
"If he's done this to somebody else, maybe somebody else will have the courage to come out in real time and not hold this in for ten years and have the anger and the humiliation and the shame that I had for ten years," Tweeden said. "I'm coming out now so I can be done with it. And maybe he can't get away with it anymore."
"I've been so angry about it, and I've carried it for so long that I'm done with it," she added.
In a statement, Franken said he has a different memory of the encounters.
“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann," he said in a statement. "As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”