OK, so that’s not fair. There are plenty of good men out there, and I know this. But with each new report of sexual abuse — the latest being against Senator Al Franken — my faith in humanity and the goodness of mankind slips ever further down a rapidly fraying thread, and it’s getting harder not to look at men — particularly those in positions of power — with suspicion-tinged glasses.
In a piece penned for the 790 KABC website, Leeann Tweeden, American model and TV personality, details her sexual assault at the hands of then-comedian Al Franken. In her account, Tweeden recalls traveling with Franken and a host of other performers to entertain troops on a USO tour in December of 2006. Tweeden states that Franken wrote her into a skit that included a kissing scene she wasn’t comfortable with. She planned to turn her head during the skit as a means of avoiding it, but Franken had other ideas as the two rehearsed backstage:
He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.
I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.
She goes on to explain that she did avert her head during the skit, which elicited backlash from Franken: “He repaid me with petty insults, including drawing devil horns on at least one of the headshots I was autographing for the troops.” But that wasn’t all. On the way home from the tour, Franken also physically assaulted her by grabbing her breasts while she was asleep.
Tweeden only found out about the assault while reviewing pictures the photographer accompanying the performers had taken. And to say she was shocked and appalled is an understatement.
We should all be shocked and appalled. Every last one of us. And we should not accept excuses from nor supply them to a single one of these monsters, whether it be Al Franken, Louis CK, Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein, or the drunken fraternity member who moonlights in grab-assing. We are living and practically celebrating our existence in a culture of misogyny, and THIS HAS GOT TO STOP, DAMMIT.
If you have attempted to explain away any of these accusations in defense of the perpetrator, STOP IT.
If you have uttered anything resembling, “Well, we need more evidence,” STOP IT. There is not a woman out there right now who would risk humiliation and destruction of reputation in the court of public opinion.
If you are tempted to mutter, post, or otherwise support “#NotAllMen,” STOP IT. Of course not all men. But enough men (and women, too, because remember that anyone can be a predator) that this problem needs to be dealt with IMMEDIATELY and in the strictest of manners.
And if you have smashed or have thought about smashing a Keurig, GO FUCK YOURSELF. I’m about as liberal as they come, and you don’t see me boycotting anything in support of Al Franken. Because what he did was wrong. WRONG. So if you are rushing to boycott in defense of your favorite Good Ol’ Boy, get your heart and your head checked. Your devotion to party over justice for victims is disgusting, and it makes you disgusting as well. Shame on you. Shame.
It’s time these abusers were held to a higher standard. Shit, any standard at all, really. Because regardless of gender or identity, we should all be shouting, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”