Melanie Morgan: After TV appearance, Al Franken harassed me too
By Brian Maloney November 16th, 2017, 14:06 EST
Exclusive to the Media Equalizer
With additional reporting from Martin Walsh
Immediately raising questions about double-standards in the media and on Capitol Hill, a Los Angeles radio news anchor today accused Senator Al Franken (D-MN) of sexually assaulting her.
Now, Media Equalizer Co-Founder Melanie Morgan has come forward as well, recounting her own experience with the onetime comedian, liberal radio host and activist. Morgan’s disturbing encounter was sparked by daring to disagree with Franken during an August, 2000 edition of ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.
Earlier, a bombshell report published by KABC on-air personality Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of kissing and groping her without her consent while she was asleep.
Shockingly, Tweeden even provided a photo as evidence, which shows Franken with his hands on her breasts while he smiles for the camera.
Tweeden said the sexual assault occurred in December 2006, when they were both on a USO Tour to support and entertain U.S. soldiers.
“It wasn’t until I was back in the U.S. and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one,” Tweeden wrote about the photo on in her KABC article.
“I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated,” she wrote. “How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?”
Tweeden said Franken had written a skit in which he would kiss Tweeden, where she said she “agreed to play along.”
“When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd,” she wrote.
Tweeden wrote that Franken insisted that they rehearse the kiss several times before the show, which she said made her “uncomfortable.”
“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 wrote.
“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,” she added.
According to Newsweek, Franken has since released a statement saying he didn’t recall the incident.
“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it,” he said in a statement.
In response to the disturbing allegations made against Franken, Media Equalizer and Media Equality Project Co-Founder Melanie Morgan has come forward to recall her own frightening encounter, sparked by a seemingly-mundane and even obscure topic of political disagreement.
Morgan, who was a ABC Radio talk show host for KSFO / San Francisco at the time, appeared August 19, 2000 on ABC’s late night show Politically Incorrect.
She was joined by Franken, William Baldwin, and then-Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Rogers on the panel.
Morgan and Franken had a dispute over the OMB’s budget numbers.
“I was invited and unaware of who his guests were going to be that night. I’ve since learned that though few know this, Al Franken was actually a writer for the show,” Morgan said.
“I made a statement about the budget numbers, Franken challenged me, I challenged him back. It was about spending priorities, actually just a mundane discussion. But he obsessed over it.”
After the show, Morgan said Franken wouldn’t leave her alone, insisting on continuing the argument.
“He approached me backstage, angrily called me out on those numbers and insisted he would prove he was right. He wouldn’t leave me alone, he kept following me. As a woman, his presence and proximity to me felt very threatening and intimindating.
“I didn’t realize his creepy behavior after the show meant it would continue in the days to come.
“He approached Carol, the show’s producer and demanded my home phone number, which was a clear violation of network protocol. I had thought that was the end of the story and was shocked when he started calling my home, badgering me repeatedly.
“I became fearful and called Carol to complain and asked her to tell him to back off. But he made another call after that. I thought that he might end up stalking me at my home in Northern California, it was that bad.
“By the third phone call I was outraged and terrified, as he is really disturbed,” Morgan recounted.
Morgan said Franken finally left her alone, but only after she pushed back and threatened “to call the police and make a report that he was harassing me.”
To this day, she says she is haunted by it: “I never forgot that experience and it informed me of his lack of character and obsessive personality. I believe every word Leann wrote.”
With many calling on Republican Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore to step aside following claims of sexual misconduct from decades ago, will Franken be asked to resign as senator?
“I will happily testify before the Senate Ethics Committee, should a hearing be held regarding Franken’s behavior,” Morgan added.