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Published On: Thu, Nov 23rd, 2017

Al Franken’s groping defended by Arianna Huffington, SNL actresses

Arianna Huffington denied that photos of Sen. Al Franken appearing to grope her during a 2000 photoshoot were inappropriate. Three dozen Saturday Night Live actresses/women released a join statement defending Franken, who Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden accused of groping and kissing her without consent in 2006.

“We feel compelled to stand up for Al Franken, whom we have all had the pleasure of working with over the years on Saturday Night Live,” they wrote. “What Al did was stupid and foolish, and we think it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden, and to the public In our experience, we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant.”

Huffington on Tuesday tweeted in defense of Franken. “I think I’m a better judge of how I felt in that satirical photo shoot with Al Franken than the recollections of an anonymous bystander,” she wrote. “I thought the point of this moment was to believe women’s accounts of their own experiences.”

The Post released the Huffington photo, HERE, with Franken’s hand clearly near her breast with an odd facial expression.

“Franken was clowning around, but it really isn’t funny,” said a source from the shoot. “That’s his tactic, pretend like it’s all a big joke. Arianna was pushing his hands away. He was groping her. There was some fun attached to it, but she wasn’t enjoying it. She definitely told him to stop and pushed him away.”

“Franken stood there with his hand on her bottom for a long time, because there are numerous frames, each taken seconds apart, and his hand was there the whole time — his hand wasn’t just there for a quick moment,” the source said.

Another 2000 photo from New York Friar’s Club Roast of Rob Reiner shows the Minnesota liberal senator with his hand over Joy Behar’s breast.

“It was disappointing to hear this about Al Franken. I can’t back Al. He’s a very funny comedian, he was during this time. He’s a senator from Minnesota,” Behar said. “He’s a great advocate for women. It’s just so disappointing. Men of all different stripes are out there doing crazy sh*t.”

Regarding the Tweeden photo: “I don’t know if he actually had his hands on her, but it’s the part [about the USO skit] where he thrust his tongue down her throat, allegedly, and forced her to kiss him. That is what you call nonconsensual assault,” Behar said.

Tweeden said that Franken insisted on practicing a kiss he wrote into a skit they were going to perform in front of soldiers overseas. Tweeden said she continued to refuse practicing the kiss, but eventually relented because she felt “uncomfortable” and wanted Franken to “stop badgering me.”

“We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth,” she said. “I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.

“I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth. I felt disgusted and violated.”

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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