Yet another woman has come forward with a story of sexual misconduct about Al Franken, and this one features an unforgettably gross explanation from the former comedian.
In an interview with Politico, an unnammed former Democratic congressional staffer says Franken tried forcibly kissing her after a taping of his radio show in 2006. When she refused him and fled, the woman says, Franken said of his kiss attempt: "It's my right as an entertainer."
She becomes the seventh woman to step forward with a story of sexual harassment against Franken. Other women have said Franken groped them while posing for pictures; conservative televsion figure Leann Tweeden, the first accuser to go public, said Franken kissed her on the mouth during a show rehearsal, and published a photo of Franken gabbing at her chest while she was asleep.
"This allegation is categorically not true," Franken told Politico, "and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous."
(No argument with that last part.)
The woman's story is backed up by two other (also unnamed) sources, who say she told them of her experience with Franken years before the other allegations surfaced. The staffer had accompanied a member of Congress to the radio studio for an appearance on Franken's Air America radio show. After the politician left, she says Franken stood close behind her and, when she turned, tried kissing her on the lips.
The woman was in her mid-20s when the alleged incident occurred, and had never met Franken before.
Many Republicans and some Democrats have said the accusations against Franken are substantive enough for him to resign from office. This accuser, a "longtime Demcorat," is ambivalent about whether the second-term senator should step down, and says her aim is to force him to acknowledge bad behavior. In responding to other women's stories, Franken has repeatedly said he recalled the events differently than the women involved.
“I think for this moment in time to lead to meaningful change," the former congressional staffer says, "there has to be more than ‘I’m ashamed but I remember things differently’ accounting.”