A Los Angeles woman accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of sexual misconduct while the two were on a USO tour to entertain American troops nearly 11 years ago. The woman, Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles radio news anchor and occasional Fox News contributor, says that she kept quiet about the incident for so long because she was afraid of the impact it would have on her broadcasting career. It was only after hearing Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on her morning news show that she decided to speak out.
Tweeden published her story on KABC-TV’s website Thursday, alleging that Franken took a picture of himself grabbing her breasts while she was sleeping after he wrote a comedy sketch that featured the two of them kissing. Although she didn’t want to practice the skit, Tweeden says that Franken “relentlessly badgered” her into performing the sketch, writing:
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.
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.
Franken issued a half-assed apology to Tweeden.
“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” said Franken. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
Hey, white guys, can y’all please stop?
Look, I know white men haven’t cornered the market on sexual assault. Even though some of you pepper my inbox with emails about the mythical epidemic of black men raping white women, the truth is, no single race is more “rapey” than the next.
But I’m just tired, man. And disgusted. And grossed out. And sick of throwing up in my mouth. But mostly tired.
Because of my visual thinking, when the stories first emerged from multiple women about Harvey Weinstein asking them to watch him shower, I pictured his bloated, pale, hairy, naked body dripping with water like a cauliflower-colored Chia Pet. It was weeks before I could even look at Animal Planet or the National Geographic channel again for fear that they might show an innocuous shot of a beached blue whale or an albino orangutan and I’d be forced to think about Weinstein’s unclothed body jiggling like a bowl of that vanilla jello no one eats at the Chinese buffet.
Just as I was recovering from that, the Louis C.K. thing happened. I am a fan of his. I have seen him in concert at least twice, and I thought he was the Louis C.K. of our generation. He was like Bill Burr if Bill Burr decided to stop being hilarious and energetic and just said “Fuck punchlines.” Even though I can’t quite recall a funny joke of C.K.’s, I watched every episode of his FX show waiting for him to make me laugh or show me he was a genius. But it was in black and white, though, so it must have been art. Maybe he was going to say something hilarious in the upcoming season. Now we’ll never know.
But I consumed a lot of Louis’ content because I was absolutely positive that I would never have to picture his dick. Every morning, no matter the weather, I could be sure of two things: The sun would rise, and Louis C.K.’s penis was not on my agenda of shit to think about.
I was halfway done with that PTSD when a woman accused political reporter Mark Halperin of sexual misconduct. A woman told CNN:
I sat in a chair across from him ... he was behind a wooden desk so I couldn’t see him from the waist down. As we had our conversation about my career he was masturbating. There was no question about it.”
I pretended like I didn’t know what was going on and we talked a bit more and then he abruptly wrapped up the conversation... There was an up and down motion ... I don’t know if he made any sound at the end or how it was clear to me that he had climaxed, but it was clear that he was satisfied — like he stopped making that motion and stopped staring at me.”
Pardon me while I vomit again.
I don’t even understand how asking people to watch you masturbate is a thing. I haven’t taken an official survey analyzing all of the positive attributes of masturbation, but I’m willing to bet that if Pew Research tackled the subject, the fact that it is a project that can be handled without the help of outsiders would be at the top of the list. I’m not saying it would be No. 1, but if I was on Family Feud and Steve Harvey asked how many people it takes to masturbate and my cousin said “one,” I’d clap like a motherfucker.
I don’t want the thought of Louis C.K. or Mark Halperin furiously manipulating their fluorescent-white flaccid man meat on my mind. Now I can’t watch Netflix or any episodes of Morning Joe I saved on my DVR. They should be sued. There needs to be a class action suit for the pain and suffering they caused. And the women they assaulted should probably sue them, too.
After hearing these stories, I decided that I would only watch local news. I live in a conservative state, so I was sure I wouldn’t encounter any Caucasian foolishness on TV stations in Alabama. Unless Nick Saban was accused of improprieties, I assumed I was safe.
Now every time I go to the mall or see an old man dressed like an unpainted rodeo clown, all I can see in my mind’s eye is Roy Moore asking 10th-graders if they want to touch his “wee-wee.” I don’t want to think about Roy Moore’s wee-wee.
Apparently, then, the only thing safe for me to watch on TV was C-SPAN. It might be boring as hell, but I was sure it was wypipo-penis-free. Just long shots of Al Franken talking about tax policy or budget reconciliation.
Or so I thought.
Now I have to gargle every time they show his nasally drone wretching self-righteously for his constituents. I bet his tongue tastes like Certs and room-temperature mayonnaise. I can feel it in my mouth! I don’t want to live in this world anymore.
I know that women are the victims, and the lecherous, predatory men in power have caused them great harm. But we are all victims here. The women who can’t trust men. The ones who have to live in silence and fear for decades. The others hurt by the circle of mistrust and anxiety.
But these men are making victims of all of us. I want it to be over. I want women to be free enough to tell their stories, but more than that—I hope that there will be no more stories. My greatest wish is for the penising of America to end.
I’m talking to you, too, Bill O’Reilly, Kevin Spacey, George H.W. Bush, George Takei, Jesse Jackson and John Singleton.
Could y’all stop?