Democratic Senator Al Franken is facing yet another accuser, who says Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after her boss left the room back in 2006.
Franken, who had a radio show at the time, was interviewing a politician. That politician’s aide (all names are withheld in the POLITICO piece breaking the news) was with the two in the studio. After her boss left, Franken cornered her and tried to kiss her against her will.
The aide, whose name POLITICO is withholding to protect her identity, said Franken (D-Minn.) pursued her after her boss had left the studio. She said she was gathering her belongings to follow her boss out of the room. When she turned around, Franken was in her face.
The former staffer ducked to avoid Franken’s lips. As she hastily left the room, she said, Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”
“He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked,” the aide said in an interview. “I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.’”
For the record, this is not an act you can claim is a joke. At all.
At no point in human history has forcing someone to kiss you against their will been your right as a human being, much less entertainer or any other label. But, Franken, who was considered powerful in the entertainment industry before he became powerful in politics, is one of those people who clearly sees himself as above the normal rules of civil society.
Franken is denying the story, however.
Franken, who has been accused by six other women of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them, denied the accusation.
“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation,” Franken said in a statement to POLITICO.
Two former colleagues of the woman independently corroborated her version of events, including Franken telling her he had the right to try to kiss her because he was “an entertainer.” The first former colleague interviewed by POLITICO said she was told of the incident in 2006, shortly after it happened. The second former co-worker said she was made aware of the encounter sometime in 2009 or 2010.
This is, what, the seventh accuser against Franken for similar behavior? It’s a pattern, and it’s not one what you can easily write off as socially awkward jokes. It’s predatory.
Noted Champion Of Women Al Franken has admitted to similar behavior in the past, which makes a denial here so much harder to believe.
Franken would be wise to come up with something more substantive than non-apologies and a welcome of the ethics investigation. But… he won’t.