Al Franken said he’s “embarrassed and ashamed” by groping accusations against him
On Sunday, November 26th, Minnesota Senator Al Franken responded to several women who have accused him of groping them without their consent, saying he felt “embarrassed and ashamed.”
"I've let a lot of people down, and I'm hoping I can make it up to them and gradually regain their trust," he continued in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
HuffPost reported on November 22nd that two anonymous women had accused Franken of grabbing their buttocks while they took photos with him in 2007 and 2008. Radio host Leeann Tweeden and another woman, Lindsay Menz, have also accused Franken of groping them.
Franken told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he does not remember groping any women. “I don’t remember these photographs, I don’t,” he said. “This is not something I would intentionally do.”
Some conservatives and progressive groups have said that Franken should resign from his position in the Senate, but Franken said he does not intend to do so. However, the Democratic senator has agreed to cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation into his behavior. Franken has not said whether he will run for reelection in 2020.
"I'm going to go forward," he told Minnesota Public Radio News over the same weekend. "I'm going to take responsibility. I'm going to be held accountable, and I'm going to try to be productive in the way I speak about this."
Franken apologized to Tweeden in a Facebook post on November 16th. In the post, he wrote that he felt his reputation was less important than the public’s belief in women who make sexual assault allegations.
"They deserve to be heard, and believed," he wrote. "And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them."
It’s important that we hold those accused accountable for sexual misconduct, regardless of who they are. And while we’re glad that Franken has vowed to “take responsibility” for his actions, we — as always — stand first and foremost with the courageous victims who have come forward with their stories.