(Above: Mick Gray)
We’ve been following the public social media posts of DC Comics artist Mick Gray over the last several days concerning the allegations of sexual assault against Democratic Minnesota Senator Al Franken first from Leeann Tweeden and then by a second accuser named Lindsay Menz.
Tweeden’s claim was that Franken pressured her into and then forcibly kissed her without consent for a USO skit in 2006 and that he groped her while she was sleeping for a picture soon afterwards. Franken was not a Senator yet.
Menz’s claim was that when taking a picture with the Senator he groped her buttock in 2010. He was a senator at this time.
When news of Menz’s allegation dropped, Mick Gray dropped his support of Senator Al Franken while sharing this story from Novmber 20, 2017.
However, despite that view, the following day Mick Gray shared a story showing several women who worked with or for Franken from his days as a Senator and a comedian at Saturday Night Live (SNL) supported him.
Finally, on Saturday, Mick posted a story from Medium.
He prefaced his comments by saying:
“Understand I am trying to figure this all out in MY MIND too… I’m JUST posting this so we can see another side to this situation… by posting, I am not saying I agree, or disagree.”
Yet, he has not posted any story by any commentators critical of Franken. Yes, he’s posted factual stories about the accusers, but no commentary like the Medium story for, using his words, “another side”.
That Medium story includes the following passage among others.
Leeanne Tweeden is the woman that recently accused Al Franken of sexually violating her at a rehearsal for a USO comedy show in 2006. Her decision to take her story public after 10 years of “silence” has been framed by both the left and the right as a survivor’s act of bravery that demands immediate attention and strict consequences.
I see Leeanne Tweeden’s actions quite differently.
What Leeanne Tweeden has done is stolen the very real traumas of very real survivors — people like me — and mocked them. What she has done is taken our pain and our bravery and our strength and exploited it on behalf of a network of people that actively prey on the women and children she is pretending to show solidarity with. What she is doing is vile and it is disgusting and it is dangerous on every personal and political level associated with sexual assault in the United States.
Perhaps if she was, in fact, a survivor of sexual assault she would understand the damage that is being caused by her actions. But she is not a survivor. And she is definitely not a victim of Al Franken.
Leeanne was never raped. She was never assaulted. And she was never the victim of sexual violence or harassment. She was a willing and active participant in a comedy show that involved sexualized behaviors. She consented to participating. She actively engaged in and invited similar behaviors with other performers other than Al Franken at the event.
I understand what political pundits term “tribal” politics; meaning Democratic voters support their tribe no matter what and the same goes for Republican voters and their party / tribe. Surely, we must draw the line at sexual assault? Now, yes, there are degrees here even in the justice system. Franken’s alleged sexual assault does not rise to the allegations against Republican Senate Candidate Roy Moore, but that does not mean that Franken’s allegations are not serious.
Also, a third and fourth woman have come forward saying Franken groped their buttock, with one even indicating Franken propositioned her to go the bathroom with him, when taking a pictures with him; one in 2007 and the other in incident in 2008:
“My story is eerily similar to Lindsay Menz’s story,” the first woman said. “He grabbed my buttocks during a photo op.”
The second woman told HuffPost that Franken cupped her butt with his hand at a 2008 Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis, then suggested the two visit the bathroom together. She spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear that the allegation could affect her position at work.
“My immediate reaction was disgust,” the second woman said. “But my secondary reaction was disappointment. I was excited to be there and to meet him. And so to have that happen really deflated me. It felt like: ‘Is this really the person who is going to be in a position of power to represent our community?’”
Does 36 women vouching for Franken make his four, so far, accusers less credible? Are folks like Mick Gray and others saying because his sexual assault allegation doesn’t involve rape that it is not serious?
The election of President Donald Trump showed that allegations of sexual assault against him, and even his xenophobic rhetoric, were not weighted too heavily by man voters when factoring in his other messages of economic prosperity for the middle and lower class as well as border security. Is this what Minnesota voters will do when it comes to Franken’s reelection bid?
When asked if his voters can expect more accusers to come forward, Senator Franken had a very candid response:
“If you had said to me two weeks ago that a woman was going to say I had made her uncomfortable and disrespected her and one of these ways I would have said no. This has been a shock to me. And so I don’t know, I can’t say. Obviously I’ve felt that women I’ve taken these photos with, that some women have said that I crossed the line, and for that I’m very sorry. And any number is too many.”
In a week where even Democrats now are saying President Bill Clinton should have resigned over having sex with a subordinate in the White House during the 1990’s, blindly loyal Republican and Democratic voters do democracy and #MeToo a grave disservice.
As one long-time Democrat has said… “Drop the Partisan Nonsense on Harassment“.
Tags: sex abuse, sexual misconduct