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What Leeann Tweeden Did Not Say

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opednews.com Headlined to H3 12/3/17

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From flickr.com: Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) {MID-203785}
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)
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Editor's Note: "This article was written while Leeann Tweeden was the only accuser against Al Franken. On the day it was scheduled to run, a second accuser came forward and I made the decision to forgo publication at that time. It is now two weeks later and there appear at this point to be perhaps six accusers, three of whom remain anonymous. The allegations, however, seem to not necessarily paint a conclusive portrait of events. The matter appears still somewhat unsettled. Accordingly and belatedly, this is the piece I held back on November 20, 2016."

Consent is the key. Consent is the cornerstone, the foundation of all sexual assault statutes in the U.S. and likely all nations. Although certainly not interpreted or applied uniformly across the wide spectrum of jurisdictions in equal measure.

What Leeann Tweeden did say was that the photograph Senator Al Franken staged 12 years earlier with him pretending to, or lightly touching her breasts as she slept and a kiss during a rehearsal of a scene, in the same time frame, in which a kiss was part of the script, were non-consensual.

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What Al Franken said in part in a handwritten letter to Leeann Tweeden was, "Dear Leeann, I want to apologize to you personally. I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture. But that doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I understand why you can feel violated by that photo." Franken expresses culpability and regret. That in effect settles the matter of consent as it relates to the Tweeden allegations.

There are however two questions that these statements do not address. Why Al Franken, and why now?

On its website, Playboy magazine presents a brief bio sketch for Leeann Tweeden, who has appeared on its pages. Presumably the characterizations are Playboy's rhetorical enhancements and do not necessarily, or even accurately, represent Leeann Tweeden's true character.

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Nonetheless, the Playboy bio presents as resume points associations with rather noteworthy entities that have clearly defined track records. They include Playboy itself, Hooters Restaurants, Frederick's of Hollywood, and Fox Broadcasting. Yes, there is a common thread. These organizations are all patently, demonstrably exploitive of women and women's sexuality. Fox Broadcasting has arguably the worst reputation of all, with scores of accusations of workplace sexual harassment it has had to negotiate in recent years.

Given that list of employment and professional associations, Leeann Tweeden would necessarily, without any doubt, have been subject to routine exploitation and on many occasions to varying degrees likely significant personal harassment. None of which abridges her right to withhold consent -- in any way -- or justifies Al Franken's conduct. It does not. But it does make her decision to go public with an 11-year-old grievance against a sitting U.S. senator stand out somewhat.

In a statement responding to Al Franken's apology letter, Leeann Tweeden spoke of a desire to "stand on the shoulders of these other women" in coming forward with her story. The other women she referred to were those who had shown the courage to speak out against sexual assaults committed against them and, we are left to read, which inspired her.

One such woman upon whose shoulder Leeann Tweeden's foot might rest could well be that of former Fox News anchorwoman Megyn Kelly. Kelly chronicled and helped expose not just the sexual harassment she endured at Fox but a pervasive, systemic, organization-wide pattern affecting a mind-boggling number of female colleagues. Leeann Tweeden was at Fox during the height of it, yet she utters not a word about the conditions and abuses there, and not a word in support of Kelly's assertions or those of the other women who showed the courage to come forward at Fox, and on whose shoulders she now purports to stand.

Beverly Young Nelson is yet another woman on whose shoulders Leeann Tweeden's weight might now be said to rest. Nelson accused Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore of having sexually assaulted her as a 16-year-old. Nelson felt it was necessary to dispel any implication of political motive. She was clear, asserting that both she and her husband were Republicans and Trump supporters. Leeann Tweeden, on the other hand, left those boxes blank on the form.

Leeann Tweeden is a woman who could have reasonably and legitimately named a long list of abusers. Why Al Franken, why now?

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Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, now the founder, editor and publisher of Reader Supported News: http://www.readersupportednews.org

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6 people are discussing this page, with 17 comments  Post Comment


Anton Vodvarka

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Observing the persecution of Garrison Keillor and Geoffrey Rush, among many others, I say enough already with these decades-old accusations and sometimes anonymous charges. One can only wonder, between this media fabricated moral hysteria and the endless "Russian interference in our election" nonsense, what sort of mental derangement has taken hold of this country. Boycott the rotten corporate media that are at the base of these mass lunacies.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 4, 2017 at 2:04:40 PM

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Anton Grambihler

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Reply to Anton Vodvarka:   New Content

There needs to be a boycott of the companies that fund violent on TV, Movies, etc. which I believe contribute to societies problems.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 4, 2017 at 10:55:44 PM

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J. Edward Tremlett

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Reply to Anton Vodvarka:   New Content

Persecution is what women have to put up with every day.

They are told their bodies do not belong to them. They are told they need to just lay back and let things happen.

If they hide themselves, they're called prudes and are told to loosen up. If they show themselves, they're "asking for it."

It's high time we admitted that we have a problem in our society, and that it's not a matter of left or right, but right and wrong.

And if a lot of people we admire, look up to, and considered champions of our views turn out to have feet of clay, well... so be it. They should have thought of the consequences when they acted, however many decades ago.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017 at 5:08:30 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Well said...and a perfect common sense summation of a dilemma exacerbated by marketing imagery and our modern devolution of cultural memes. While the marketers are gender blind in their goals, i.e., using sex to sell to both genders, the double bind vicitms are overwhelmingly women.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017 at 6:35:04 PM

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A thing to be considered, definitely

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 at 6:01:52 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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As the bombs rain down on Yemen, OEN follows the lead of the MSM and directs its focus to back row yellow journalism like the quodlibetic debate on the motive behind a POS like Leeann Tweeden. The collapse of a society begins with the retrograde misalignment of priorities.

Submitted on Monday, Dec 4, 2017 at 4:44:25 PM

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gunnar kullenberg

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...I don't know...?

Submitted on Monday, Dec 4, 2017 at 11:10:54 PM

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"Why Al Franken, and why now?"

The answer was out there.* Makes pretty good sense to me.

I don't think we should be going down this attitudinal path of: "well the event didn't reduce you to a quivering pile of jelly, and you didn't say anything at the time, and you look like someone who gets assaulted a lot anyway, so it must not have bothered you that much. Next?"

*This morning on ABC's "Good Morning America," Senator Al Franken's accuser and radio anchor Leeann Tweeden spoke with Robin Roberts about her encounter with the then-comedian on a 2006 USO tour. She also discussed why she is speaking up now, over 10 years later.

Tweeden said she was inspired after speaking to Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who shared her account of being sexually assaulted as a young congressional aide.

"Jackie Speier came on my show about ten days ago, and told her story... when she was in her 20s, she said her chief of staff trapped her in an office and took her head in his hands, and kissed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth. And in that moment, I said: That happened to me. That was Al Franken and that happened to me. That was my sign. I think if I don't speak up now, I'm going to forever hold that and keep it with me forever. That was my moment to speak up," Tweeden said.......

......."We have to shine a light," she said. "These people need to be called out. Expose what is happening, to do a change, to change the culture."

"Maybe I have a platform to speak out, because if he did this to somebody else or if anybody else has stayed silent or anybody else has been the victim of any kind of abuse, maybe they can speak out and feel like they can come forward in real time and not wait a decade or longer."

And indeed, several other women did feel empowered to come out. And Al was forced to come to grips with all his gropes. These ordinary non-famous women were clearly offended and bothered by what happened, but were afraid to say anything, for a variety of reasons. Until Leeann.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017 at 4:08:06 PM

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This is true.

However, I think we can also be discerning of the source and the timing. This didn't "just happen." It was planned.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017 at 5:13:16 PM

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This didn't "just happen." It was planned.

But you don't know that, J. You're speculating, regardless of how confidently you state it. You're setting up unfair and impossible standards for women coming forward. Gosh, I can't come forward, because I didn't behave in just the perfect way, whatever that is, since it happened! Oh well she says, after tamping it down even deeper in her memory.

Who planned John Conyers? Who planned Matt Lauer? Russell Simmons? Brett Ratner? Roy Moore? Donald Trump?

No, I don't get the feeling any of the above was "planned." I think the climate's just become such that lots of women are comfortable in numbers coming forward. No need for conspiracy theories when we have good old Occam's Razor.

"It's high time we admitted that we have a problem in our society, and that it's not a matter of left or right, but right and wrong." -- J. Edward T.

Submitted on Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017 at 10:32:12 PM

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Speculation is 9/10s of what happens here. Preferably it's founded in some degree of observable fact, as opposed to nonsense that's easy to disprove.

For example, given your recent conservative-leaning comments, I can confidently speculate that your concern about "women coming forward" is situational, and has more to do with Franken being in the crosshairs than any genuine concerns about the struggles women face when they tell their stories.

If you'd care to disprove that, perhaps you could show us some contemporary comments from you -- as in, before the 2016 election -- concerning the large number of women who came forward to accuse Trumpf of having harassed them.

Submitted on Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017 at 6:08:15 PM

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Gary Williamson

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There was an instant cognitive dissonance with Democrats on Twitter. People like Franken. Democrats need Franken. See, the accuser had been on Sean Hannity's show. She must therefore be a right-winger. She could have been put up to this, they speculated. Roger Stone had tweeted that the "touchy" Franken was about to be exposed six hours before the story dropped. That's fishy, they surmised. They all sounded paranoid, irrational, and conspiratorial. But that's how we all sound these days.

I assumed Franken would step down later that day. Tweeden's story rang true to me. I'd told myself I was the only one. I'd been groped by Franken in 2009.

It happened at a Media Matters party during the first Obama inauguration. It was a great time to be a Democrat.

Submitted on Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 at 6:25:15 AM

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Reply to Gary Williamson:   New Content

No one's disputing he appears to be a serial groper. What I am disputing is the genesis of your concern -- something you didn't touch.

Between this, you comments on capitalism, and your comments on the LGBTQ cake, I think I've rumbled your game.




Submitted on Thursday, Dec 7, 2017 at 5:53:21 PM

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Gary Williamson

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Congratulations Sherlock, you got me! Of course all anyone would need to do is accidentally mouse over my 'picture' and read my bio. Still, good work! But that thought police motif? .... Not a good look, just sayin.

I've made no secret that I'm struggling with labels and political identities, that is if one was to actually read my bio and all my comments here, not that I'd expect anyone to. Like I said in my bio: "always been what I thought was a liberal." But lately I'm waking up to people supposedly 'on my side' staking out what I find to be rather illiberal positions.

For instance, my first comments here were in support of officially identifying 'RT' as a puppet of Russia, historically one of the most anti-liberty forces on the planet. Oh, the push-back I got on that! WTF J?

Next, I made the point that lots of fringe-left environmentalists are not really concerned about clean energy, they're really just anti-capitalist and anti-human. Hardly something liberals, presumably being for the liberty of people, should support. Daniel Geery said that he, for one, was supportive of unlimited clean energy technology. Good for him!

Then, I thought it was rather two-faced for Rob and Meryl Ann to raise all these conspiracy theories about Leeann Tweeden, damaging her credibility, as was done with this article to a certain extent, and then at the same time claim to believe her. I called them out on that. In other words, I supported this woman being free to come forward with abuse allegations without being subtly smeared!

I did defend Trump on the issue of the CFPB appointment, simply because it looked like he was actually right, "like a stopped clock", on the law and the constitution. Not that I like him, voted for him, or approve of his prior behavior with women. But some people do equate the constitution with liberty, I'm told.

Cont......

Submitted on Friday, Dec 8, 2017 at 10:18:14 PM

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......

Then there was this effort to equate Trump with fascism. Again, I can't stand this buffoon, as I've repeatedly said, but this is not the argument to be making. It just makes liberals look stupid, and in fact those arguing it find themselves acting like actual fascists.

I argued on the side of Monsanto re: Roundup and GMOs, on the basis of scientific facts, consensus and integrity, not to mention being instrumental in feeding people, things I thought we liberals were for. Turns out I'm evil and vile for having such impure thoughts.

I argued in favor of capitalism, which is really just another word for individual human freedom. I learned that capitalism, individual, and freedom are all dirty words among most of the readership here. WTF J?

And yes, I argued on the side of religious freedom, and I'm not even religious. But when the gold standard put forth in our founding documents is that our rights guaranteeing and protecting individual liberty are 'natural' and 'divine', and not subject to being taken away by anyone, I'm loving me some religion, and I'm hesitant to agree that the govt. should force compliance in the face of what seems to me to be good-faith disagreement on religious grounds.

Sorry J, I wish I could point you to some earlier Trump-trashing comments by me to prove the 'liberal' lock-step you seem to demand, but they don't exist. In retrospect, I wish I had made some, but I was so disgusted by both candidates and the entire process that I gave politics up. I cancelled the cable. I didn't even vote for the first time in years, because I knew I couldn't bear the memory of making that mark for Hillary, much less Trump.

So if my stances on these issues, most of which I think are arguably based in liberty, make me 'conservative leaning' in your mind, or you think I'm 'playing a game', rather than simply sharing my sincere thoughts and beliefs like everyone else here, you're free to have those thoughts! I won't even police you on em. :-)

Submitted on Friday, Dec 8, 2017 at 10:21:55 PM

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Reply to Gary Williamson:   New Content

Yep. That's what I thought.

Submitted on Sunday, Dec 10, 2017 at 2:32:27 PM

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But ...... WTF J?

Submitted on Monday, Dec 11, 2017 at 3:48:31 PM

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