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Kelli Fury

Sexual Assault Scandals 3- the Fempire Strikes Back

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Today’s bad news is my own US Senator Al Franken. Carry on.

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Leann Tweeden's (Franken's accuser) account of the rehearsed USO bit is bad, but that photo? You can argue that the joke is in bad taste, but he is clearly not "fondling" her as she describes in her quotes/Tweets. He's not touching her. 

Edited by Manhole Eunuchsbane

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Franken Apology (thanks to Mexal, who posted it in the politics thread.

 

Click to embigganate.

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My concern here is this:

This account is not good. It's typical, and something you see a lot of in stupid parties and the like, and it sucks. 

It is also NOT in the same ballpark as attempting to rape a 16 year old in your car. It is not in the same ballpark as copping the feel of a 14 year old as a 32 year old. It is NOT in the same ballpark as groping a 14 year old when you're in your 30s in a movie production together. It is NOT the same as someone systematically repressing all hints of illegal conduct while having multiple people cover for your sexual assaults and rapes. It is not the same thing as raping a woman in an alley behind a dumpster and getting off because you go to Stanford. 

My concern is that this allegation conflates these things together. I think it's reasonable and credible. I think it's reasonable that Franken resign, or take significant more action than he has.  But whatever he does, more should be required of the others. 

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12 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

My concern here is this:

This account is not good. It's typical, and something you see a lot of in stupid parties and the like, and it sucks. 

It is also NOT in the same ballpark as attempting to rape a 16 year old in your car. It is not in the same ballpark as copping the feel of a 14 year old as a 32 year old. It is NOT in the same ballpark as groping a 14 year old when you're in your 30s in a movie production together. It is NOT the same as someone systematically repressing all hints of illegal conduct while having multiple people cover for your sexual assaults and rapes. It is not the same thing as raping a woman in an alley behind a dumpster and getting off because you go to Stanford. 

My concern is that this allegation conflates these things together. I think it's reasonable and credible. I think it's reasonable that Franken resign, or take significant more action than he has.  But whatever he does, more should be required of the others. 

Agree with all of this short of a resignation. There is a price that he needs to pay for this, but I don't believe that to be a reasonable one.

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4 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

Agree with all of this short of a resignation. There is a price that he needs to pay for this, but I don't believe that to be a reasonable one.

Agree, with the qualification that no new allegations come up, or new evidence is presented over the course of the ethics investigation. If this represents the entire story, I think censure is appropriate, but most likely not resignation.

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18 minutes ago, Kalbear said:

My concern here is this:

This account is not good. It's typical, and something you see a lot of in stupid parties and the like, and it sucks. 

It is also NOT in the same ballpark as attempting to rape a 16 year old in your car. It is not in the same ballpark as copping the feel of a 14 year old as a 32 year old. It is NOT in the same ballpark as groping a 14 year old when you're in your 30s in a movie production together. It is NOT the same as someone systematically repressing all hints of illegal conduct while having multiple people cover for your sexual assaults and rapes. It is not the same thing as raping a woman in an alley behind a dumpster and getting off because you go to Stanford. 

My concern is that this allegation conflates these things together. I think it's reasonable and credible. I think it's reasonable that Franken resign, or take significant more action than he has.  But whatever he does, more should be required of the others. 

Agreed with Manhole. Not sure resignation for something like this is appropriate until more allegations occur. Beyond that, agreed with everything else and it's more or less what I just said in the politics thread. All actions are weighted equally when they shouldn't be. Also, the difference in response between GOP/Dems when their own is being accused is light and day. 

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1 minute ago, The Great Unwashed said:

Agree, with the qualification that no new allegations come up, or new evidence is presented over the course of the ethics investigation. If this represents the entire story, I think censure is appropriate, but most likely not resignation.

I think that's an important qualifier as well. If other women start coming out against him, then all bets are off. 

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He’s my senator and we have no shortage of great democrats in Minnesota. He shouldn’t run for re-election and the party should run Keith Ellison or RT Rybak in his place

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From the US politics thread: (Mle Zabzie I think)

18 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

If you think actually touching skin is necessary for something to be violative, you'd be wrong.

 

 

 

I think it makes a difference, certainly (kevlar specifically that is). It's not some sort of magical bullet, and it's not an excuse, but it does make a difference, physically and symbolically. I know I wish I'd been wearing kevlar when I was groped, but that's me, not the victim. Might well be that Franken wouldn't have done it if she hadn't had body armour on.

My take is that it's perfectly reasonable for the victim to be perturbed by this photo, and to demand an apology at the very least. At the same time, I don't think it's worthy of stepping down over. People are stupid, ignorant and crude, that doesn't mean they are predators. How many good people are out there who have never done a single thoughtless, moronic or even cruel thing? 

I don't include the kissing part in that assessment - I haven't read enough about it.

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13 minutes ago, Leap said:

From the US politics thread: (Mle Zabzie I think)

 

 

I think it makes a difference, certainly (kevlar specifically that is). It's not some sort of magical bullet, and it's not an excuse, but it does make a difference, physically and symbolically. I know I wish I'd been wearing kevlar when I was groped, but that's me, not the victim. Might well be that Franken wouldn't have done it if she hadn't had body armour on.

My take is that it's perfectly reasonable for the victim to be perturbed by this photo, and to demand an apology at the very least. At the same time, I don't think it's worthy of stepping down over. People are stupid, ignorant and crude, that doesn't mean they are predators. How many good people are out there who have never done a single thoughtless, moronic or even cruel thing? 

I don't include the kissing part in that assessment - I haven't read enough about it.

 I don't think he touched her at all. He's miming doing that, which is bad enough, but it's not fondling as she describes.

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10 minutes ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

 I don't think he touched her at all. He's miming doing that, which is bad enough, but it's not fondling as she describes.

I think he's definitely touching her with his fingertips on the left hand, I can't see with the right hand due to the angle.

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Franken is guilty at least of sexual harassment.  The photo is more than enough evidence to prove that.  Also, I don't see how people can be sure that Franken wasn't touching her in the photo.  It looks to me that at least his fingertips were touching her breasts, or were extremely close to touching her.  Just because you can see shadows under his fingers doesn't mean he wasn't touching her.  Try putting your hands against a wall with some lighting from above.  You'll have shadows under each finger that look similar to the shadows in the picture.  I think it's reasonable for Tweeden to assume that she was groped based on that photo.  And if Franken's fingertips were touching her breasts, that's sexual assault.

Franken's initial apology was horrendous.  It started out with essentially a denial of the unwanted kissing (he remembered things differently) and then tried to play off the photo as a joke.  The second apology was better, but I question his sincerity.  I'm sure that he's sorry that he's been caught and exposed, but I doubt that he's really sorry about what he did.  If he really did regret his actions, he should have apologized to her privately long ago.  Franken's apology is about damage control.  If he resigns, then I'll believe that he's actually sorry.

I think Franken should resign.  If he doesn't, it sets a bad precedent.  Even worse would be if he doesn't resign, runs for reelection, and then wins.  That would be a terrible message.

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7 minutes ago, Mudguard said:

The photo is more than enough evidence to prove that.  Also, I don't see how people can be sure that Franken wasn't touching her in the photo.  It looks to me that at least his fingertips were touching her breasts, or were extremely close to touching her.  Just because you can see shadows under his fingers doesn't mean he wasn't touching her.  Try putting your hands against a wall with some lighting from above.  You'll have shadows under each finger that look similar to the shadows in the picture.  I think it's reasonable for Tweeden to assume that she was groped based on that photo.  And if Franken's fingertips were touching her breasts, that's sexual assault.

You're right that we don't know for sure. I hope someone is interviewing the photographer. That said, simple common sense should tell you that he's not going to touch her breasts while being photographed. Common sense also should have informed Franken's sensibility about even miming it, but I can't believe he'd be stupid enough to actually do it.

Edited by Manhole Eunuchsbane

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1 minute ago, Manhole Eunuchsbane said:

You're right that we don't no for sure. I hope someone is interviewing the photographer. That said, simple common sense should tell you that he's not going to touch her breasts while being photographed. Common sense also should have informed Franken's sensibility about even miming it, but I can't believe he'd be stupid enough to actually do it.

If he thought it was OK to take a picture that looks like he was groping her when she was asleep, then I don't think it's hard to believe that he thought it was OK to lay his hands on her as a "joke."  If he was going to mime doing it, he didn't need to put his hands anywhere near that close.  I don't think he deserves the benefit of the doubt here.   It should be clear that lots of men feel entitled to grab women without their consent, and I think a lot don't really think that it's bad. 

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1 hour ago, Kelli Fury said:

He’s my senator and we have no shortage of great democrats in Minnesota. He shouldn’t run for re-election and the party should run Keith Ellison or RT Rybak in his place

I have no problem with him running again in 2018. And Keith is about the worst choice to run state wide. I’m all for RT running if he does though. If Franken does resign then Dayton should nominate either RT or Margaret Anderson Kelliher. RT is a bit more of a show horse while MAK is a pit fighter. Her and Amy would make an incredible 1-2 punch in the Senate.

Also, great thread title.

30 minutes ago, Mudguard said:

I think Franken should resign.  If he doesn't, it sets a bad precedent.  Even worse would be if he doesn't resign, runs for reelection, and then wins.  That would be a terrible message.

Bad precedent is female staffers having to be told to never ride in an elevator with Sen. Strom Thurmond. If this is all Franken did then he doesn’t need to resign. I’m fine with him just having to eat a lot of public shaming and enjoying a nice long ride on the couch at nights.

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2 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Bad precedent is female staffers having to be told to never ride in an elevator with Sen. Strom Thurmond. If this is all Franken did then he doesn’t need to resign. I’m fine with him just having to eat a lot of public shaming and enjoying a nice long ride on the couch at nights.

Bad precedent is not taking any substantive action against a person committing sexual harassment when there's ample proof.  If you let Franken go with a slap on the wrist despite there being photographic evidence seen be the entire world, what message does that send to female staffers that are harassed?  It reinforces the message that there is no point complaining because nothing will be done anyway.  It completely undermines the current effort in Congress at addressing this issue.

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I think those who are worrying about touching or not are kind of missing the point of why a picture of someone doing that is violating. 

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