Victim Shaming? MSNBC's Hunt: Franken’s Action ‘Not Actually Groping’

What happened to believing women when they speak out against powerful male accusers? On Thursday, evidence broke of a 2006 incident in which Democrat Al Franken groped and forcibly kissed TV and radio personality Leeaan Tweeden. Photographic proof backs up her claim. 

Yet, MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt described the now-Senator's predatory behavior this way: “[Franken] took a picture, which his office now says was of a joke, that showed him potentially — not actually groping — but mock-groping her while she was asleep.” 

 

 

In the noon hour, Hunt repeated her mild description. This time, she didn't cite the Franken staff and made it her own: “Then she also published a picture that was given to her of her asleep with Senator Franken mock-groping her.” This isn’t how Tweeden described the unwanted attention. She didn’t offer qualifiers such as “mock-groping” or “not actually groping”: 

It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one:

I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.

I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.

How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?

Doesn’t Tweeden have a right to be believed on her own terms and not have a journalist downgrade her claims against a liberal, Democratic senator? 

Later on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell described what Franken did as “groping” and didn’t qualify it. 

A transcript of the two comments is below.  

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MSNBC Live
11/16/17
11:53 p.m. Eastern

KASIE HUNT: We are starting to see some immediate reaction to this on Capitol Hill to those allegations and you covered what she had to say pretty well. In a nutshell, she said she was on this USO tour that Al Franken wrote — he was a comedian then, not a Senator — wrote into the script that he should kiss her. Tried to get her to rehearse it. It was uncomfortable. She avoided him after that. Then he took a picture, which his office now says was of a joke, that showed him potentially —  not actually groping, but mock-groping her while she was asleep.

(....)

12:17 p.m. Eastern

HUNT: She says he wrote a part into their skit that required him to kiss her and that he tried to rehearse the kiss backstage that made her uncomfortable. And then she also published a picture that was given to her of her asleep with Senator Franken mock-groping her.


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