Sen. Al Franken Accused of Forcibly Groping Radio Host Leeann Tweeden

/me stands up, applauds

I agree wholeheartedly and without reservation.

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If he were a republican, we’d be fawning all over him saying horrible things like, “He’s so well behaved.” Adding or omitting 'for a republican" depending on the politeness of the poster.

I think how Captain Crunch gets treated in here will be a real test.

You don’t have to get consent to make a joke.

You just have to respect other people’s bodies and not use them in your joke unless you’re damn sure that they will be cool with it, and then you have to be prepared for the consequences if they aren’t.

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All you in this thread defending on the fact that “no contact” was made:

Even the implication that you’re going to do it, the threat of it, is enough. A person doesn’t have to get stabbed to suffer harm from someone waving a knife at them. Most violence isn’t started with a punch but the threat of one. Even if he didn’t make contact, he a) could have and b) he considered the scenario.

Don’t tell me he only considered it as a joke or that it’s a riff on the “lecherous old comedian” thing – the fact that he saw a sleeping woman and went straight to the assault scenario shows how much it is normalised and why women have had to live in fear all our goddamn lives. Calling it a joke, even if you say it’s a bad one, just helps normalise it more.

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This comment thread is a great example of the largrr culture-wide conversation about sexual harrassment that is going on right now.

In this example, a male senator forced woman into a kiss that she did not want or enjoy, and then made a “joke” in which he posed for a photo in which he positioned his hands over or placed his hands on the breasts of the woman (yes, she was wearing armor) who was asleep.

The woman has said that:

"she was in a skit with Franken in which his character tried to kiss her. She writes that she expected a stage kiss in which she turned her head, but that backstage he insisted they needed to practice the kiss. She demurred, but he insisted, she said.

He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would 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 she pushed him away and warned him never to do it again.

And that :

she decided not to make a big deal of the incident so that the tour could go on, but that she was angry and told a few other people on the tour. Then when she returned to the U.S. and received a CD of photos from the trip, she saw one that depicted a grinning Franken either groping or pretending to grope her breasts as she slept on a flight.

“I’m still angry at what Al Franken did to me,” Tweeden wrote. “Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour.”

For alot of people this is a black mark on the senator’s character and an indicator of how he relates to women that is contrary to what they had believed. They feel it calls his leadership skills into question and heshould resign.

A lot of other people have responded in some interesting ways.

They’ve said that the woman should not be upset because she’s posed nude, or that even though the senator used the script to force her to kiss him, she had agreed to help and shouldn’t complain about it.

I read comments that suggested she should have expected this sort of treatment because of where she was and who she was with.

Others have said that since he apologized, he is still fit to lead, and we should forget about it.

Some people argued that it wasn’t that big of a deal because he might not actually be touching her, and after all it was just a joke. They are worried that they won’t be able to make jokes anymore or go on dates if we start holding people accountable for things like this.

It’s important to examine the joke in the photo. The joke clearly isn’t meant to make the subject of the joke, a sleeping woman laugh. It’s more obviously for the benefit of the senator and the other men in the room, the punchline being:

If had the opportunity to grope this woman, I would! Wouldn’t you?

That’s not a joke. That’s a man using a sleeping woman’s body so that he and the other the people in the room can share a lechy “locker room talk” moment.

We’re hearing these stories because they involve powerful people.

But every single woman has experienced being made into a joke because of her anatomy or other people’s projection of their desire to fuck her and every woman has recieved the unwanted physical contact that is part of the same disregard for her humanity when men relate to her as a place to get sex from or an object to use to demonstrate their heterosexuality.

This conversation has been a long time coming, and now we’re having it because enough people are finally paying attention.

It’s time.

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Applies to the two comments directly above (@Mindysan33 and @Magdalene)

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michelle-obama-this

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So here’s the next accusation against Franken:

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aggresuko-headbanging

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He who must not be named has done an infinity more of stoopid and rates head-on-platter status. Franken’s tongue will do - after he washes his mouth out with soap for lying about being a feminist ally.

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Franken is one of the most dispensable of Dem senators. He can be reliably replaced by the Dem governor. I figure he’s out by Christmas.

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This one is another he said/she said. IMO this is not damning yet; the account could be fabricated by someone with an axe to grind.

Or it could be totally true.

Reserving judgment still. If we hear 3 or 4 more stories like this, well, that’s a clear pattern. Much harder to suggest a “take the lefty down” conspiracy then.

You’ll take the word of one man over that of four women.

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This is getting into angels dancing on the head of a pin territory. :-o

My personal read in the case of 4 accusers, of severity somewhere between Leeann’s accusations (quite bad) and the most recent woman’s accusation (bad; also much less verifiable), is that there probably is a pattern of abusive behavior here. But there’s still enough room for doubt that I would be uncomfortable with a preemptive resignation. We’d probably be in “finish out the term, but don’t stand for re-election” territory.

The 5th accusation seems like a tipping point to me. Others would set it at a different level and I’d respect a difference of opinion there. 2 accusations seems like too low bar to clear, though. Makes anyone in Congress, on either side of the aisle, too vulnerable to a dirty-tricks attack by a relatively small conspiracy.

He said/she said always seems to default to he said.

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You do understand that what you are proposing is that one male shall only be overruled by a quorum of five females. In other words any given woman is 1/5 of a human being.

Deciding the number of accusers that will validate an accusation of harassment, abuse, rape is analogous to the idiot’s slur of an argument not well understood, “angels dancing on the head of a pin,” is offensive.

Please tell me this is satire that flew over my head.

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Funny thing is, the same people who think you need more than one accusation against a man to take it seriously would decry the fact that in traditional Islamic law, women’s testimony has less weight than mens. Because they tend to be hypocrites.

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I’m making a much narrower argument here. :frowning: It’s about what the threshold for professional consequences should be in the case of disputed incidents, especially in a political setting. Not that I don’t believe the women until there are 5 of them; that’s rubbish.

Are you saying that with this second accusation, you’re done with Franken here? There’s absolutely no chance the second accuser is a fabulist? (Yes, I know there was a contemporaneous Facebook post.)

I get that there have been unfair consequences for women speaking out about things like this, and that maybe at long last the worm is turning here. If things are changing, yes, this is good thing! I’m 100% on board with it.

At the same time, if you automatically act on any and every accusation of misconduct, you get into the territory occupied by the Satanic Panic cases of the 1980s, and (slightly overlapping) recovered-memory childhood abuse cases also of the 1980s.

People who’ve been harassed should feel empowered to tell their stories, to be heard. No argument. But for what do do with that information, a fair degree of initial benefit-of-the-doubt – of wait-and-see while evidence is coming out – is absolutely warranted. Especially when there are plenty of people out there who would love to see their political enemies tarred, whether it’s true or not.

That’s what I’m reacting to in hungryjoe’s post. (~ #213 ). Yes this revelation is another drip. It’s not good for Franken. But it doesn’t pass the bar for moving out of wait-and-see mode, not yet…

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The Satanic abuse cases were prima facie unbelievable, and they were driven by aggressive prosecutors (Janet Reno for one). The fantastical reports of ritual abuse had much precedent in the previous waves of mass attacks on so-called witches, and mass attacks on Jews for the blood libel. However, those “witch hunts” are not analogous at all to what is happening now. I’m not aware of any kind of wave of false sexual abuse reports by adult women ever.

Yet that very idea is strongly persistent. It is popularly imagined, unsupported by evidence, that rape is very often falsely reported. That assumption is not made for any other violent crime. And for sexual abuse and harassment, it is the same. There is an assumption that women have an incentive to lie.

That incentive simply is not there. If you report that you were abused by a powerful figure, your life will be raked over, you will be maligned, you will be called a liar, few will want to hire you, and the chances of you collecting some huge reward are much less than popularly imagined.

I don’t believe that anyone should be convicted in a court of law without evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. However, I also don’t believe that women who accuse men of sexual harassment or rape should be put through a public ordeal of shame and dismissal.

Please name a famous case of false accusation of sexual harassment or rape. Seriously, I’m asking that someone please name the landmark case of false accusation of sexual harassment or rape. When I google that all I get are links to MRA/PUA sites that claim all such accusations are. And that ties into the horrible thread running through these comments.

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