DC Comics Still In News About Sex As Artist Mick Gray Steps Into #MeToo Controversy Over Al Franken Sexual Assault Claims By Leeann Tweeden

Following DC Comics firing of long-time employee Ed Berganza over sexual assault allegations another DC Comics affiliated talent is in the news for the wrong reasons. Mick Gray is in the news over perceived victim shaming concerning sexual assault allegations against Al Franken.

On Friday November 17, 2017 news broke that former model and current morning news anchor on TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles Leeann Tweedon had accused former Saturday Night Live (SNL) comedian and current Democratic U.S. Senator from Minnesota Al Franken of sexual assault in 2006.

In her own words Tweeden indicated the following.

      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…

      …[Al] Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.

      As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.

      When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.

      On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’…

      …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.

      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.
      I felt disgusted and violated.

      Not long after, I performed the skit as written, carefully turning my head so he couldn’t kiss me on the lips…

      …Franken repaid me with petty insults, including drawing devil horns on at least one of the headshots I was autographing for the troops.

      But he didn’t stop there.

      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.

      It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one:

      I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.

      I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.

      How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?

      I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture…

A lot more directly from Tweeden is here.

Earlier today, DC Comics artist Mick Gray shared the following post on his Facebook page from the Facebook community “God Bless the United States“:

The initial Facebook post that was shared (so NOT written by Gray to clear) reads:

      Here is Al Franken’s accuser. Anyone want to put in the same category as Roy Moore, or can you acknowledge a set up by the Republicans when you see one? Oh, by the way, she was 33 not 14 when the alleged incident took place. Moreover she works for Mercer now, was a Hannity colleague and a tRump supporter.

Mick Gray was pilloried for the post immediately including by comics book artist Wade von Grawbadger who noted:

      “The only thing that matters is: did he do it or not? Anything else about here is irrelevant.”

Mick Gray responded to the criticisms with two messages. This one…

      “I agree with you all! JUST posted this that maybe, JUST maybe, this was all a set up on the part of this young lady, to use the situation as a career promoter… I just posted this to make you think… Al was a stupid comedian, at the time, and comedians do stupid things… it was WRONG of him to do what he did… but maybe we don’t know the whole story.”

…and this one…

      “But PLEASE understand THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT! I was just this posting this to see another side for you to thing about.”

The Facebook post has since been deleted from Mick Gray’s Facebook account. The earlier screen grabs were compiled when the post was live.

It should also be noted that Al Franken has responded to Leeann Tweeden’s allegations with the following statement.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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.  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.

      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.

      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.

Yes, Leeann Tweeden has posed for Playboy at least twice (covers 1 and 2) and FHM at least five times (covers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5), but that doesn’t means she isn’t credible. This is all about consent in the end. She alleges that she did not consent to Franken’s conduct. That said, reports indicated that she has accepted Franken’s apology and doesn’t want to see him lose his job in the Senate over her #MeToo story.

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