9th woman accuses former Sen. Al Franken of sexual harassment as he steps back into the public eye

Senate Health, Education, Labour, and Pensions Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, during the committee’s executive session on the nomination Education Secretary-designate Betsy DeVos. ( AP Photo/Alex Brandon
  • Former Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota has been accused of sexual misconduct by another woman.
  • A woman told New York magazine that Franken groped her buttocks at an event in 2006.
  • She is the ninth woman to accuse Franken of sexual impropriety.
  • The latest allegation comes as Franken has stepped back into the public eye and is poised to begin a weekly program on SiriusXM.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Another woman has accused former Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota of sexual harassment.

The woman, a former aide to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state, told New York magazine that Franken groped her buttocks during an event in 2006. She’s chosen to remain anonymous and has stayed silent on the matter for years over fears of the impact it could have on her career.

At Murray’s annual event, Golden Tennis Shoes Awards, the woman at one point took a photo with Franken.

She told New York that Franken then put “his hand on my arse. He’s telling the photographer, ‘Take another one. I think I blinked. Take another one.’ And I’m just frozen. It’s so violating. And then he gives me a little squeeze on my buttock, and I am bright red. I don’t say anything at the time, but I felt deeply, deeply uncomfortable.”

The woman said the alleged incident “rocked her confidence” at a time when she was considering running for office.

“This created a moment of reflection on like, Who the hell do you think you are? There is something that tells men that they, particularly those who have a lot of power, that they have access to my body in some way that is based on the hierarchy of the organisation that we’re working in or society or whatever it is,” she said.

The woman is the ninth to accuse Franken of misconduct and the fourth to allege he groped her buttocks.

Franken, who was at one point considered by Democratic strategists to be a potential 2020 contender against President Donald Trump, resigned from the Senate in 2017 after multiple women accused him of sexual impropriety and unwanted advances.

The woman who spoke to New York said she considered coming forward when the allegations against the former Minnesota senator first came to light, but was wary of doing so based an experience at another job (years after the alleged incident with Franken) in which she’d reported “unwelcome attention” from her boss at work and ended up leaving “after feeling ostracised.”

Read more:
Former Senator Al Franken says he regrets resigning from office over sexual misconduct allegations

This new allegation against Franken comes as he’s stepped back into the public eye. In July, the New Yorker wrote a profile on Franken that looked at the allegations against him and cited lawmakers who felt his resignation may have been premature.

SiriusXM recently announced it’s launching a weekly program hosted by Franken.

“Listeners can expect a mix of guests from my comedian friends like Chris Rock, to my political pals like former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, to policy experts on the issues in play in 2020,” Franken said in a statement on the show. “When I’m interviewing Harry or former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, I’ll be the funny one. When I interview Rock or Patton Oswalt, I’ll be the one who served eight and a half years in the Senate.”

SiriusXM did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on whether the latest allegation against Franken would impact the launch of the new program with Franken.

Franken, however, addressed the allegation in a comment to New York: “Two years ago, I would have sworn that I’d never done anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but it’s clear that I must have been doing something. As I’ve said before, I feel terrible that anyone came away from an interaction with me feeling bad.”