Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since he resigned in early January 2018 after being hit with a wave of sexual misconduct allegations. But last week it was widely reported that Franken was launching a comeback of sorts with a new weekly SiriusXM radio show, which started Saturday.
Unfortunately for Franken, as soon as he launched his new program he was hit with another #MeToo allegation, this time from an unnamed former Sen. Patty Murray staffer who said he grabbed her behind in 2006:
The woman, who asked for her name not to be used, is now a senior staffer at an unnamed progressive organization, and said the incident occurred in 2006 shortly after she graduated from college and was working for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
While being photographed with Franken, who was then still exploring his eventual 2008 run for Senate, the woman said he placed his hand on her buttocks.
“He’s telling the photographer, ‘Take another one. I think I blinked. Take another one.’ And I’m just frozen. It’s so violating. And then he gives me a little squeeze on my buttock, and I am bright red. I don’t say anything at the time, but I felt deeply, deeply uncomfortable,” the woman told the publication.
The woman told The Cut she did not tell anyone about the incident at the time out of embarrassment, but three people told the publication the woman talked to them about the alleged incident when the first allegations against Franken broke in late 2017, leading to his eventual resignation.
The Cut reached out to Franken for a response, and what he told them sounded similar to the responses he gave when asked about in the past the other allegations:
“Two years ago, I would have sworn that I’d never done anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but it’s clear that I must have been doing something. As I’ve said before, I feel terrible that anyone came away from an interaction with me feeling bad.”
That is…lame. Really lame. It’s almost like he’s saying “I didn’t think inappropriately touching women against their will would offend them.”
In the rare media interviews Franken has given since his resignation, he has expressed resentment towards the Senators who he said turned their backs on him instead of giving him the benefit of due process. Without evidence, former 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) claimed for months that her call for Franken to resign cost her the support of top donors.
A number of Democratic Senators (former and current) have spoken out publicly over the last several months stating they wish they had handled Franken’s situation differently, and said they feel he was railroaded in December 2017 at a time when the #MeToo movement was gaining momentum.
New Yorker Magazine’s Jane Mayer wrote a thinly-sourced piece in July aimed at
victim-shaming discrediting some of his accusers and rehabilitating his reputation.
As of this writing, Mayer has not commented on social media on the new allegation, nor have I found news reports that include any comments from those former or current Senators who expressed regret this year for how things were handled in 2017.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –