On Thursday, broadcaster Leeann Tweeden wrote an essay in which she alleged that Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) forcibly groped and kissed her while they were on a USO tour together in 2006, before he was elected to the Senate. She also posted a photo that showed Franken grabbing her chest while she was asleep on the flight home.
Condemnation against Franken was swift, and he apologized in a written statement, saying, “I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself.” He also asked for an ethics investigation into his own behavior.
As usual, the late-night TV hosts had plenty to say, particularly as Franken is the latest in an avalanche of sexual misconduct allegations in the last month. On Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Trevor Noah took the most serious approach.
“The story is another example of how at all levels, we men have been complicit in perpetuating the culture that devalues women,” Noah said. “I don’t care who you are: Democrats, Republicans, black, white, rich, poor … because you forget, it’s not just Al Franken in the picture. It’s the guy who’s taking the picture. You know, his Billy Bush. Who is that guy?”
On CBS’s “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert noted that “every day it seems like we find out about another high-profile sexual harasser.”
“I guess there are no good people left, so let’s just get it over with,” Colbert sighed. “Just tell us whatever you did, Jimmy Carter! Barack Obama! Tom Hanks! Malala!”
Colbert told his audience some of the details of Tweeden’s allegations, such as “during rehearsal he came at her, put his hand on the back of her head, mashed his lips against hers and aggressively stuck his tongue in her mouth.”
“Now for those of you not in showbiz, actors call that technique ‘sexual harassment,’ ” Colbert said. He also took issue with Franken’s statement that the photo “was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t.”
“No. Your movie ‘Stuart Saves His Family’ was intended to be funny but wasn’t,” Colbert shot back. “That photo was intended to embarrass her. That’s why he did it while she was asleep.”
Both ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers” brought up Tweeden’s vest that she was wearing in the photo, with Kimmel calling it a “grope-proof vest.”
“That is horrifying,” Meyers said of the photo. “She’s wearing Army gear because it’s a USO tour, but honestly, who could blame women if they started wearing military gear whenever they’re around men? ‘Where are you going in a helmet and a flak jacket?’ ‘THE SUBWAY.’”
And it was Jimmy Fallon on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” who made a reference to President Trump, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct.
“Radio host Leeann Tweeden came forward and said Senator Al Franken groped her without her consent, and she posted a photo as evidence,” Fallon said during his monologue. “In fact, it’s so bad, Franken’s already a front-runner for president in 2020.”