Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), has been fighting allegations of his sexual misconduct during his time as a comedian, but now he may be facing one that occurred while he was a Senator.
According to The Daily Caller, a woman has joined others to accuse Sen. Franken of sexual harassment. Lindsay Menz says Mr. Franken grabbed her posterior at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010 during a photo-op.
Mrs. Menz told reporters that she attended the fair with her father and husband. She spent the day at photo-ops with elected officials, individuals running for office, and various celebrities whenever they approached her father’s radio booth.
Mr. Franken had approached the booth for a photo-op and Mrs. Menz began speaking with him. Both she and Mr. Franken posed for the picture. According to Mrs. Menz, it was then that Mr. Franken “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear.”
She describes there was no mistaking that he was groping her: “It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek. It wasn’t around my waist. It wasn’t around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt. I was like, ‘oh my God, what’s happening?’”
Mrs. Menz’s husband Jeremey Menz says he didn’t see the groping, but they were awkwardly close together, “He reached around her and kind of pulled her into him. He pulled her in and pushed his head against her head. It was over pretty quick.”
After the photo was taken and Sen. Franken walked away Mrs. Menz told her husband, “he totally grabbed my butt.”
Mrs. Menz says she felt completely violated by the event, “I felt gross. It’d be like being walking through the mall and some random person grabbing your butt. You just feel gross. Like ‘ew,’ I want to wash that off of me.”
Mr. Franken claims to not remember the event saying, “I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don’t remember taking this picture. I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
This accusation follows on the heels of another made by morning news anchor for Talk Radio KABC Leeann Tweeden, according to Fox News. Tweeden posted a photo showing Mr. Franken, a comedian at the time, groping Ms. Tweeden while she was sleeping during a USO tour in 2006.
She also told the story of how Mr. Franken wanted to rehearse a kiss he’d included in an upcoming comedy routine while backstage. After consenting with the intent to turn away comically like she would in the performance, he attacked her.
Tweeden says, “he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”
Sexual harassment accusations are flying around the entertainment and political circles much to the alarm of most Americans. Are the accusations leveled against Sen. Franken serious enough to end his career?
In light of the photo, Sen. Franken admitted to his sexual misconduct in a formal apology: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
While Mrs. Menz allegation lacks the evidence to back up her claim like Mrs. Tweeden did, it certainly wouldn’t be a leap to say it may have occurred. It also raises the question of what other sexually deviant acts Mr. Franken may have committed before and after becoming a senator.