The Mirror

Hey, Al Franken, Meet Your Ninth Accuser

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger

A new woman has come forward to say that ex-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) once squeezed her derrière in a Senate photo op.

Last week, SiriusXM announced the launch of Franken’s  new weekly show with SMXProgress. (RELATED: Post-Boob-Scandal, Al Franken Finds New Home Bothering Radio Listeners)

What a sigh of relief the former nationally-known politician must have taken at the chance to return to the limelight after resigning from the Senate in 2017 as more than a half dozen women came forward to say he had sexually harassed or touched them against their will.

Until now.

The new woman, who isn’t releasing her name just yet, says Franken grabbed her ass in a photo line at an event in 2006. She told New York Mag‘s “The Cut,” which broke the story, that Franken, then simply exploring a Senate race, squeezed her backside. She worked for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington).

“It’s so violating,” she recalled to New York Mag. “…and I am bright red. I don’t say anything at the time, but I felt deeply, deeply uncomfortable.”

What is it with Franken and his lack of control when taking pictures? Early on, a photo emerged of Franken cupping journalist Leeann Tweeden‘s breasts while she slept. He’s a comedian. This was supposed to be funny. She released the picture in 2017. The incident happened in 2006 on the way home from a USO tour. Tweeden also said Franken shoved his tongue down her throat during an acting sketch.

Franken hasn’t totally denied the accusations made against him. But he has told The New Yorker‘s Jane Mayer that it’s vital to differentiate between the severity of the accusations. He has also said he feels “deeply sorry” that he made some women uncomfortable. He has admitted to feeling depression since his resignation and the need to take medication.

Lefty Tina Dupuy, also a comedian and journalist who occasionally hosts on SMXProgress, was among Franken’s female accusers and feels no sympathy. She saw this coming a mile away after the radio network hired him.

“I’ve said before if Franken re-surfaces or makes a comeback — more women would then have to come forward. Number 9. Here it is,” she tweeted, highlighting the story of his latest accuser.

Dupuy opened her own Franken Pandora’s box in late 2017 with her own first-person story in The Atlantic. Her purported incident happened in 2009. It happened, of all places, at a Media Matters party. “I asked to get a picture with him,” she wrote in her story. “We posed for the shot. He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice.”

She tweeted Monday, “For two years I’ve been blacklisted. For two years the only place that welcomed me was @SXMProgress where I’ve worked as a fill-in host. Hosting a three-hour live national call-in radio show is easily in the top five of the coolest things I’ve ever done. I love it with abandon.”

News of Franken’s new show made Dupuy cringe.

“I learned last week that @SXMProgress was giving Franken a show,” she wrote. “Progress. Hundreds of other channels but the only one I’m on. Gobsmacking. It made me feel lonely; alone. Angry. I understand why the 9th Franken accuser didn’t use her name. I’d not wish the blowback on anyone.”

Dupuy obviously supports the new accuser.

“But I’m grateful that she came forward,” she wrote. “I used my name and somehow made myself the biggest target for those who thought if they could just discredit me, just dismiss, kill me then their ol’ buddy Al wouldn’t be a creep.”

And finally, she wrote, fuck some of you out there.

“With that being said I would like to extend a couple of sincere ‘fuck yous’ to my harassers, haters and horrible commentators,” she wrote. “The 60+ women have been especially awful and cruel. And you all owe @SenGillibrand an apology too!”

Psssst….right about now, Mark Halperin may be thanking his lucky stars that he hasn’t really tried to make a return to the political zeitgeist.