When radio anchor Leeann Tweeden told the story of Al Franken sticking his tongue down her throat while rehearsing for a USO show, she said she did so because "because there may be others." Welp, two days ago a second woman claimed Franken grabbed her butt during a photograph in 2010, when he was a sitting senator.
And now two women are telling HuffPost similar stories about Franken's groping:
The first woman, who spoke to HuffPost on condition of anonymity because she’s worried she’ll be harassed online for making the allegation, said Franken groped her when they posed for a photo after a June 25, 2007, event hosted by the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus in Minneapolis.
“My story is eerily similar to Lindsay Menz’s story,” the first woman said. “He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op.”
The second woman told HuffPost that Franken cupped her butt with his hand at a 2008 Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis, then suggested the two visit the bathroom together. She spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear that the allegation could affect her position at work.
“My immediate reaction was disgust,” the second woman said. “But my secondary reaction was disappointment. I was excited to be there and to meet him. And so to have that happen really deflated me. It felt like: ‘Is this really the person who is going to be in a position of power to represent our community?’”
The argument I made for Franken stepping down still stands. Though Franken's apology was sincere, though Tweeden accepted his apology (with a caveat), and though some are worried about setting a dangerous precedent, I still think the right thing for him to do is step down.
I'm not worried about "setting precedents," since all of this plays out in the court of public opinion anyway, thanks to the massive cultural and legal failure to adjudicate various forms of sexual harassment. We can decide on a case-by-case basis whether the consequences of a de facto installing a Republican in place of power is greater than the relief afforded to victims of sexual harassment. But when we have the opportunity to replace a shitty Democrat with a non-shitty Democrat, as we do here with Franken, we should not let our sympathies and good feelings and positive experiences with the man blind us to the fact he is replaceable, and necessarily so.
We get to choose who leads us. That's the whole idea.