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.”
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.
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.
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.