Al Franken makes a new apology amid sexual-harassment allegations

Sen. Al Franken on Capitol Hill. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Sen. Al Franken released a new statement on Thursday apologizing to the women who recently accused him of sexual harassment and to any others he had offended.
  • Franken said he had recognised that he needed to “be much more careful and sensitive” in his interactions with women.

Sen. Al Franken, who has recently been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment, released a new statement on Thursday apologizing to those he has, or may have, offended, and promising to “be much more careful and sensitive” in his interactions with women.

Lindsay Menz has said the Minnesota Democrat grabbed her buttocks while the two posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010, when Franken was in office. And Leeann Tweeden, a California radio-news anchor, has accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her in 2006, when he was a comedian.

“I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations,” Franken said in the statement. “I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women – and I know that any number is too many.”

In a previous statement regarding Menz’s allegations, Franken said he did not remember the encounter and added that he felt “badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected,” without directly apologizing for any misbehavior.

“Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that,” Franken said in the Thursday statement. “I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognise that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations.”

He continued: “I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again. And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”

Earlier this month, the senator said he would “gladly cooperate” with a potential Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his conduct.