The Weinstein Effect is rolling over Capitol Hill, sweeping Al Franken in its salacious riptide. In 2006, Al Franken, before he was a senator, groped a sleeping woman. The victim came forward today. Note I’m not using “allegedly” or “accused.” There’s photographic evidence of the incident. And Franken has admitted to the actions. His apology is, as the feminists would say, “problematic.”
Read it, paying careful attention to the dubious subtext:
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) November 16, 2017
Full text written out, for your reading convenience:
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. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine—is: I’m sorry.
…that I got caught. The “champion of women” line is a sly setup.
Guys, take what you think a woman’s intelligence is and multiply it. By ten. At least ten. We live in subtext. We speak in subtext. It’s our first language. So pardon me if I’m not buying this attempt at dog whistling. Real “champions of women” do not refer to themselves as such (they don’t have to), nor do they grope unconscious women with whom they’re not in a consensual relationship. #Basics
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.
Did you catch that? He’s ashamed people doubt him. We doubt Franken’s “respect for women” due to the photographic evidence of him fondling a sleeping woman.
But I want to say something else, too. Over the last few months, all of us—including and especially men who respect women—have been forced to take a good, hard look at our own actions and think (perhaps, shamefully, for the first time) about how those actions have affected women.
There he goes again. REPEATING himself. “I totally respect women!” Not buying it, senator. It’s like Amy Schumer releasing a statement saying “I totally respect abstinence!” seventeen times. Actions speak louder than apologies issued after you got caught with your hands on the merchandise.
For instance, that picture. I don’t know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn’t matter. There’s no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn’t funny. It’s completely inappropriate. It’s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what’s more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it—women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me.
Personal story time. I work with a male comedian: Steven Crowder, maybe you’ve heard of him. In the past two years I’ve been working with him, we’ve played jokes on the audience. Sexual harassment jokes. Each and every time there’s a joke involving a sexual harassment, or male-female angle (and I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME), Steven runs the idea by me first. “Hey, I think this could be funny, what do you think, Courtney?” Because that’s how men and women, who respect each other, actually operate.
Not letting a woman in on the “hey, I’m going to grope you while you’re sleeping, LOL!” joke? That’s proof it wasn’t a joke. Sure, he thought it would be funny. As obnoxious pigs do. To be shared with other, chest-beating, grunting pigs. “Look it, LOL, I groped her while she slept!” High fives all around, gents. Buy Al another cold one.
Coming from the world of comedy, I’ve told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realize were just plain offensive. But the intentions behind my actions aren’t the point at all.
Yes they were. Why bring up his “intentions behind my actions” if they weren’t the real point? See, he’s trying to excuse his actions: “It was comedy! The joke bombed, but it was a joke!” Try again, asshole.
It’s the impact these jokes had on others that matters. And I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to come to terms with that.
He’s sorry he got busted with his hands on a woman’s mammaries. If he was actually sorry, genuinely, he wouldn’t have waited until the photo came out to blow up his career.
While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences.
Crafty move there, weasel. “I don’t remember it the same way she does” means “she misinterpreted.” It’s subtle victim blaming. Which he casually tries to erase with his next statement. Subtext. It matters.
I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.
And the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed. And they deserve to know that I am their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.
If he was actually committed, if he was truly penitent, he would’ve said “In light of my tremendous error in judgement, and because I do not want to cost the American taxpayers more time, grief, and expense, I’m resigning my post effective immediately.” Alas, I see no reference to a resignation.
Franken wants to keep his job. So he can continue “championing” the rights of women. Incidentally, did you know there’s a taxpayer-funded slush fund to bankroll congressmen accused of sexual misconduct? Uh huh. Also, the ladies of Capitol Hill have a “creep list” of perverts. Think Franken is on it?
Rape culture. Turns out, it’s real in both Hollywood and DC.