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.
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.