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In the aftermath of the Weinstein rape accusations and further accusations about numerous powerful men coming to light, not a lot of revelations have really shocked us.
But today, a radio newscaster named Leeann Tweeden publicly accused Al Franken of having groped her and kissed her without her consent in 2006.
Al Franken has issued an apology, but that doesn’t in any way negate his past actions.
Describing her upsetting experiences with Al Franken, Leeann Tweeden writes:
“In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.”
Tweeden shares that she was going to be in a skit that Franken had written, and he kept pressuring her to “practice” the scene’s kiss.
(Before getting into politics, Franken was on SNL. So a skit makes sense. A kiss, though, should not be necessary. Rehearsals less so)
“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.”
There are sadly a lot of harassment stories that we’ve heard, especially lately, involving women giving in not out of a desire to consent, but because they’ve been worn down or fear the consequences of saying no.
“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.”
That is gross and unacceptable. You do not kiss people without consent. Kisses should be fun for both parties or they should not happen at all.
“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.”
That is a more than fair response.
“I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.”
A horrifying feeling.
“I felt disgusted and violated.”
And remember that she still had to go on stage with him.
“Not long after, I performed the skit as written, carefully turning my head so he couldn’t kiss me on the lips.”
After that, she avoided interacting with him. But eventually, his harassment continued … while she slept:
“The tour wrapped and on Christmas Eve we began the 36-hour trip home to L.A. After 2 weeks of grueling travel and performing I was exhausted. When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet.”
She did not learn that he had posed with his hands over her breasts until looking through the CD of photos that the photographer had given her, back at home.
She felt violated all over, and you can see why:
Kevlar or no, there is no excuse for that.
Senator Al Franken has publicly apologized:
“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.”
Starting with an apology is absolutely appropriate. This is a clear apology, unlike Louis C.K.’s open admission. There’s a difference, and it matters.
Al Franken continues:
“I respect women. I don’t respect men who don’t.”
We feel the same way.
“And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.”
Shame is very appropriate.
Mitch McConnell has called for an ethics investigation into Al Franken, and Al Franken has agreed.
Leeann Tweeden has publicly accepted Al Franken’s apology, and says that she is not calling for an ethics investigation into him.
(We’re not sure what there is to investigate, as Al Franken’s apology sounds like an admission, but even Franken isn’t opposing it)
Many people on both sides of the political aisle feel that it would be appropriate for Al Franken to resign.
Overall, Democratics haven’t shown any signs of chill in condemning Al Franken’s shameful, inexcusable actions.
The controversy surrounding Alabama candidate Roy Moore’s alleged penchant for underage girls, one that got him banned from a local mall in his thirties, comes to mind.
We all need to remember that, though some political parties may respond different to different accusations, sexual harassment and sexual predation don’t know political boundaries.
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If you’re having trouble keeping up with what’s going on in Kailyn Lowry’s love life these days, you’re certainly not alone.
Shortly after Lowry’s breakup with Chris Lopez, it was widely reported that she entered a new relationship with her next door neighbor.
Rumors of Kailyn dating Dionisio Cephas were bolstered by recent flirty Twitter exchanges between the two.
Some even went so far as to claim that the jokey back-and-forth messages were Kail and Dionisio’s way of confirming that they’re a couple.
Both parties shot those rumors down, however, confirming that they’re more than friends, but insisting that they’re not officially dating yet.
So when Kail attended a recent red carpet event with her ex-husband, Javi Marroquin, fans were on the lookout for possible signs of a reconciliation.
And the parents of young Lincoln certainly didn’t disappoint:
Kailyn and Javi filmed Marriage Boot Camp together recently (despite the fact that they’re no longer married) and as you can see, they got very friendly at the premiere party.
Javi planted one on Kailyn for all the world to see, but to hear him tell it, it was merely a gesture of platonic love for one of his best friends:
“I have love for her, but we’re not getting back together,” Javi told Radar Online.
“If things were different and things didn’t play out the way they did, maybe we could give it another shot. But too many things have happened to do that.”
Javi said that despite rumors to the contrary, he and Kailyn are getting along well these days and amicably co-parenting son Lincoln:
“We’re pretty good right now,” Marroquin told the site.
“We hang out a lot. I have Lincoln 50 percent of the time. I go to all their soccer stuff. I see her almost every day.”
So it sounds like that kiss really was just a platonic, friendly thing … or was it?
“Kailyn, she’ll always have a soft spot in my heart,” Javi added.
“When she tells me stories of what she’s dealing with and what she’s going through in her life, it hits home with me. I never want to see her struggle or go through stuff.”
“I always want to help her out and ask if I can do anything. I wish things could be different but they’re not.”
Sounds like Javi could still be carrying a torch for Kailyn, but it also sounds like he won’t be acting on those feelings anytime soon.
Watch Teen Mom 2 online to relive Kail and Javi’s tumultuous romance.
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Jeremy Meeks and his story are divisive, and it’s so easy to be of two minds about him and pretty much everything that he does.
This latest stunt is no example.
And while locking lips with Topshop heiress Chloe Green is nothing new, it’s less their very public displays of affection gaining attention this time and more their outfits … or lack thereof.
Jeremy Meeks got famous back in 2014 after his “hot felon” mugshot went viral on Facebook and then spread to the rest of the internet.
Most people don’t look great in their mugshots, but people immediately noticed Meeks’ icy blue eyes and stunningly sharp cheekbones.
By the time that he was released from prison, he already had modeling contracts lined up.
Modeling at his level can pay six figures per year, and it tends to involve world travel.
This was controversial, because you can’t help but think of all of the aspiring models who have the looks and the talent, but their only mistake was not being arrested on multiple gang-related charges.
Sometimes, that kind of unfairness is part of life.
His fans argued that this is a great chance for him to turn his life around — a chance that too few people realistically get in our prison system.
Jeremy Meeks started modeling and everything was looking great.
As in, he was looking great but it looked like his life was taking a new direction.
And then he was photographed on a boat cheating on his wife with Topshop heiress Chloe Green.
His wife, Melissa Meeks, who waited for him while he was in prison and who is also the mother of his child, was less than thriled.
(Actually, she’s still pretty pissed)
We can only imagine how thrilled she’ll be to see Jeremy Meeks showing more PDA with Chloe Green.
The two have been out and about with each other before, of course.
And while Jeremy’s done some work for Topshop, the British multinational retailer that sells shoes, clothing, makeup, and accessories all across the globe — and is part of the Arcadia Group, to which Chloe is the heiress — let’s just say that their relationship isn’t strictly professional.
But as they’ve been spotted lately, if you look past the feathers and stuff, Jeremy Meeks is basically just wearing boxer shorts.
Chloe Green is, decorations aside, just wearing a barely-there jeweled bikini top and a pair of bottoms.
After they’d advertised themselves in their outfits on Instagram, they were even spotted making out without the feathers at the Crop Over Carnival in Barbados.
The 33-year-old ex-con and the 26-year-old heiress make for a cute couple, but it strikes many as insensitive that he’d be flaunting their relationship where his wife cannot help but see.
What rubs people the wrong way is that Jeremy Meeks has left his wife behind, and started this relationship by cheating on her.
For the record, Jeremy Meeks is the one who filed for divorce.
Though this was after his wife responded to the photos of him and Chloe.
Arguably, his filing may have been less about wanting to split than about wanting to avoid a legal timeline of cheating.
He listed the date of separation before his time in Europe.
We’re no lawyers, but that might undercut his wife’s complaints about cheating.
He’s splitting hairs there mighty fine, but it’s technically not cheating if they were separated.
That can matter in the divorce.
If we were writing a ripped-from-the-headlines Law & Order episode about this, we’d have the guy conspicuously similar to Jeremy Meeks abandoning his family after prison because he doesn’t want his former criminal associates to take revenge on them for him leaving crime to go into modeling.
We don’t think that what’s going on here involves anything so dramatic.
Jeremy Meeks is leaving his old life in the dust, or trying to, because everything now is so shiny and new and exciting.
We don’t know when he’ll get a reality check.
But it might come when he has to cut that first child-support check.
Or whenever Chloe Green has had her fun and decides to move on.