I’m not happy about this wave of sexual harassment claims for two reasons: One, some of the people accused are ones I actually looked up to at one point. And two, even though this society is brewing in a stew of toxic masculinity as it’s always been, the stream of new allegations coming to light proves that it’s actually drowning in its own filth.
Actors, CEOs and politicians have been ousted as sexual predators who preyed on (often young) women and men for years. The accusations started pouring in after Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was exposed as a serious serial sexual deviant. After news broke of his disturbing exploits, more men were unveiled. The latest is, or was, a respected Democratic senator who used to be on Saturday Night Live, Al Franken.
In her post, (Leeann) Tweeden (morning news anchor on TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles) says the harassment occurred as the two rehearsed for a USO skit written by Franken in which he was supposed to kiss her. She writes that Franken repeatedly insisted they rehearse the kissing scene despite her protests. When she relented, she says, Franken “put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.”
“Senator Franken, you wrote the script,” Tweeden wrote. “But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.”
She also included a photo in which Franken appears to grab her breast while she’s asleep.
“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” Tweeden writes. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.
If you want to read her whole story, click here.
Understandably, this has let down a lot of people. Franken, to them, was thought to have been an actual righteous politician, one of the “good” ones. But this incident that occurred over 11 years ago shows that he’s not so righteous at all, and is fundamentally no different than the other fools accused of similar crimes and sins.
Robyn Pennacchia at Wonkette expresses her disappointment:
Al Franken has done a lot of good over the years, both as a senator and before then. It is a goddamned shame that he could not have backed that up by being a decent person otherwise. I am mad about this. I am mad for the people he represents who trusted him and needed him to be a better person. I am mad for and at myself, because my first reaction to this was “please don’t let it be true.”
Franken’s revelation of his past cruelty shows that sexual harassment is not a party issue. As you know, Alabama politician Roy Moore, a republican seeking for a seat in the Senate when he was accused of sexually abusing several women during his younger years. As expected, he has his defenders, particularly those on the far right with supporting silence from Grab ’em by the p***y Trump. (I don’t like using or spelling the p-word even if it’s about cats.) Yet, the jackass-in-chief went to condemn Franken who seemed to have owned up to his shit while not saying a word about Moore or holding his own orange ass accountable.
If this is to be weighed out, why should Senator Franken go down for one act of harassment (as fas as we know) while we got an incompetent, emotionally fragile testicle still in office for a long list of abuse for which society seemed to have moved on from? This isn’t to not hold Franken accountable. But this is one of the things that makes you go hmmm.
If some people are shortsighted enough to make it a political issue, that’s part of the problem. Some things aren’t politically based. This is a human rights issue, the rights of women and men who are victims of unwanted advances from men who abuse their privileges.