Sen. Al Franken, who on Thursday faced accusations of groping and kissing TV host Leeann Tweeden without her consent, has canceled his Miami Book Fair appearance.
Miami Dade College, which hosts the week-long literary festival, announced Franken’s cancellation on Friday afternoon. Refunds are available at the point of purchase, and college spokesman Juan Mendieta says no replacement author has been chosen.
“At this point, there’s not going to be a replacement author,” Mendieta says. “It’s very difficult to get someone in at this juncture.”
Franken, scheduled to close out the week-long literary festival on the Miami Dade College campus, was set to discuss his new memoir, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate,” which charts his rise from “Saturday Night Live” political satirist to his election as a Minnesota senator in 2009.
Tweeden, a radio host for Los Angeles radio station KABC, said Franken made sexual advances toward her while preparing for a USO tour sketch in 2006, three years before he took public office. In a first-person account of the incident published Thursday morning on the KABC website, Tweeden described a bawdy sketch the comedian wrote that required Tweeden and Franken to kiss.
She also included evidence, including a picture of Franken with his hands placed on Tweeden’s breasts while she slept on a cargo plane.
Hours after Tweeden’s accusation, Franken issued a statement apologizing to the newscaster.
“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women,” Franken wrote. “I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”
Franken joins a growing wave of sexual accusations raised against celebrities and politicos, including Harvey Weinstein, Senate candidate Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, director James Toback and others.
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