Al Franken responds to sexual harassment claims: ‘It was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t’

Al Franken
Al Franken. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Al Franken apologised after an LA broadcaster accused him of sexual harassment.
  • The statement was widely panned online.

Sen. Al Franken apologised on Thursday after Los Angeles TV broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused him of sexual harassment.

In an op-ed published on 790 KABC, Tweeden alleged that the Minnesota senator kissed and groped her without her consent in 2006 when the two were on a United Service Organisations tour to entertain military servicemembers abroad. Tweeden also shared a photo which purported to show Franken groping her while she was asleep.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Franken said in a statement. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”

The statement did not appear to quiet critics, who blasted the senator for not going far enough.

During his time in the Senate, Franken has been an outspoken advocate for fighting sexual harassment, helping lead the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization. He also admonished disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein for his alleged serial harassment and predation of women.