The Democratic Senator from New York, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, has called for Senator Al Franken, also a Democrat from Minnesota, to resign. The demand comes after multiple women have accused him of sexual misconduct, reported Politico.
"While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve," wrote Gillibrand in a Facebook post.
Gillibrand is the first of Franken's fellow Senate Democrats to call for his resignation. This comes after another woman accused him of forcibly kissing her on Wednesday.
The woman, an aide who asked to be kept anonymous, said Al Franken tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006. This happened three years before he became a U.S. senator.
She told Politico that Franken pursued her after her boss had left the studio. She related how she was getting ready to leave when Franken got in her face.
The former staffer says she ducked to avoid Franken’s lips. As she left the room, she claims Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”
“He was between me and the door and he was coming at me to kiss me. It was very quick and I think my brain had to work really hard to be like ‘Wait, what is happening?’ But I knew whatever was happening was not right and I ducked,” the aide said in an interview. “I was really startled by it and I just sort of booked it towards the door and he said, ‘It’s my right as an entertainer.’”
The woman says she was in her mid-20s at the time. She added she had never met Franken prior to the incident. Franken was elected to the Senate in 2008, but he was already politically active at the time.
Franken has been accused by another six women of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them. He denied the latest accusation.
“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation,” Franken said in a statement to POLITICO.
Two former colleagues of the woman independently corroborated her version of events, said Politico. The first former colleague said she told of the incident in 2006, shortly after it happened. The second former co-worker said she was made aware of the encounter sometime in 2009 or 2010.
The former staffer says she first felt compelled to come forward after seeing Franken respond to the Trump Access Hollywood tape last year. In the interview, Franken dismissed Trump’s excuse that he was just engaging in “locker room talk."
“It was a moment in time where I told a number of my friends about my experience with Franken because I saw him on the news being asked about the Trump tape, and I felt like it was really hypocritical,” the former staffer said.
She continued, adding why she came forward: “I do feel this very heavy responsibility to speak the truth,” the former staffer said. “I don’t think that there are different versions of truth and that’s what’s bothered me a lot about [his] responses.
After Gillibrand's call for Franken's resignation, another ten Democrats added their voices to hers. Franken responded by announcing he'll make a statement on Thursday.