A military veteran says that Al Franken groped her at a 2006 event while working as a Senate staffer, the woman told New York Magazine’s the Cut.
The woman, who is anonymous, told the publication that she was working for Washington Sen. Patty Murray at the time, and that Franken was the guest speaker at the event. She said Franken put his hand on her buttocks, and squeezed them during a photo op for the event. From the Cut:
I was working the photo line, and he pulled me in. Murray said, “Let’s take the picture.” And he puts his hand on my ass. He’s telling the photographer, “Take another one. I think I blinked. Take another one.” And I’m just frozen. It’s so violating. And then he gives me a little squeeze on my buttock, and I am bright red. I don’t say anything at the time, but I felt deeply, deeply uncomfortable. It was such a confusing experience. At first, I didn’t take it all that seriously.
The woman told the Cut that the experience made her doubt herself, and affected her throughout her entire career—she hadn’t felt angry at Franken, but at herself.
She said she considered joining eight woman who came forward in 2017 against Franken alleging misconduct (three other women say Franken groped them), but even for the Cut article, which shares other accusers’ testimonies on the risks of coming forward with sexual harassment and assault allegations, she feared tying her name to her allegation.
Franken, who was first elected in 2009, resigned from the Senate in early 2018 after the accusers came forward, alleging the senator groped and forcibly kissed them. Franken apologized at the time, but expressed doubt, saying, “I can’t say I haven’t done that. I’m very sorry if these women experienced that.” Last week, SiriusXM announced that Franken was getting his own weekly talk show, and will contribute to the company’s left-wing politics channel on the 2020 election.
In the Cut article, the woman went on to detail an experience after grad school in which she was essentially pushed out of her job after telling a senior official that another supervisor was making inappropriate comments about how she dressed to other men.
“I have dreams of being a Cabinet secretary for the first female president. I have dreams of running a large organization,” the woman’s testimony read. “And I believe that even in the most liberal, progressive organizations in the world, it will still be held against me.”
She then revealed that she works at an organization where she’s “constantly trying to get people to tell their stories so we can make systemic change.”
“I am the biggest of hypocrites,” she told the Cut. “But I’ve worked so hard to amass this small amount of power that I’m so terrified of that being taken away.”
In response to the new allegation, Franken told the Cut, “Two years ago, I would have sworn that I’d never done anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but it’s clear that I must have been doing something. As I’ve said before, I feel terrible that anyone came away from an interaction with me feeling bad.”