Second Woman Comes Forward to Accuse Al Franken of Harassment
A second woman has come forward to accuse Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of harassing behavior, after the Minnesota lawmaker was accused Thursday of sexually assaulting a journalist in 2006.
In a story published Thursday on her news website, Mediaequalizer.com, Melanie Morgan wrote that she was an ABC Radio host at the time of an alleged incident in August 2000, when she appeared alongside Franken and other guests on the ABC show Politically Incorrect.
Morgan wrote that she and Franken got into an argument about politics; specifically about budget numbers from the White House Office of Management and Budget. Morgan said it was an ordinary political discussion, but Franken “obsessed over it.”
“He approached me backstage, angrily called me out on those numbers and insisted he would prove he was right,” Morgan said. “He wouldn’t leave me alone, he kept following me. As a woman, his presence and proximity to me felt very threatening and intimidating.”
Morgan added that Franken’s “creepy behavior” continued for the next several days, after he obtained her home phone number from the show’s producer and allegedly began calling her repeatedly.
“I had thought that was the end of the story and was shocked when he started calling my home, badgering me repeatedly,” she said. “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.”
Morgan also accused Franken of refusing to stop until she threatened to call the police on him.
Morgan is the second woman to accuse the Minnesota senator of misconduct after journalist Leeann Tweeden published a story Thursday claiming Franken forcefully kissed her without her consent, and later allegedly groped her while she was asleep on a plane during a USO tour in 2006. Tweeden published a photograph appearing to show Franken groping her breasts.
Franken issed a brief apology to Tweeden Thursday afternoon, explaining he didn’t remember the alleged incident “in the same way,” and adding that he should not have taken the photo. He later issued a longer apology, calling for a Senate ethics investigation and insisting he would cooperate.
“I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t,” he said. “And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”
In a statement Thursday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for an ethics investigation into the allegations, while some, including Hollywood celebrities, have called for Franken to resign his Senate seat.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum