Two more photos have emerged of U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) inappropriately touching a female colleague. But this time, she and other colleagues are rushing to his defense.
Last week, reporter Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of forcibly kissing her as well as taking a photo of himself putting his hands on his breasts while she slept at the conclusion of a USO tour in 2006. Franken denied the first incident but apologized for the second one that had photographic proof.
Now the New York Post’s Page Six has published two previously unreleased photos of Franken groping Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington during a photo shoot.
The first photo shows Franken grabbing Huffington’s breast while he appears to tackle her from behind on a bed. She appears to be smiling in the photo but also has her head at an angle like she’s trying to get out of his grip.
The Post’s unnamed source says, “Franken was clowning around, but it really isn’t funny. 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.”
The second photo shows Huffington and Franken standing back-to-back. Franken is reaching behind himself to touch her rear end. Huffington appears to be in the middle of saying something.
What looks like a momentary grab wasn’t, according to the same source, who said, “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.”
But oddly enough, self-described feminist Huffington said that nothing out-of-sorts happened in the 2000 magazine shoot.
“The notion that there was anything inappropriate in this photo shoot is truly absurd,” Huffington says, adding that the photo session referenced a famous “Strange Bedfellows” sketch they did back in 1996.
Like many women in the industry, Huffington has recently spoken against sexual harassment in the entertainment and media world. However, she along with dozens of other women who worked with Franken on “Saturday Night Live” are coming forward in his defense, according to NBC News.
In a letter, they wrote, “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 (SNL). 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.”
They continued, “That is why we are moved to quickly and directly affirm that after years of working with him, we would like to acknowledge that not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior; and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard.”
Meanwhile, another woman on Monday accused Franken of grabbing her behind during a 2010 photo shoot, according to CNN. 33-year-old Lindsay Menz, who was in her 20s at the time, said Franken’s actions made her feel very “uncomfortable” and “gross.”
What do you think of all of this? In other news, a bizarre entertainer is on death’s doorstep and could use your prayers.