Senator Franken: Don't Resign - Investigation is needed!
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Dear Senator Franken and Honorable Members of the U.S. Senate:
So many of us have experienced sexual harassment. We need this issue to be handled with care.
We the undersigned ask that in the interest of morality and taking the higher road, and best road to putting truth first, that Senator Franken not resign this week. We ask instead that Congress fast-track an investigation process. This is essential to our democracy. It sets precedent to investigate others who've been accused.
Please note there is a long list of questions about these accusations, later in the petition.
1) In #MeToo, truth is more important than images. Only with truth, can the fight against sexual harassment and other evils, be won.
2) There are many questions in the accusations at Senator Franken. While it's important to believe accusers and victims, and they are rarely lying, it is also important to look for truth first. This means giving both sides a chance to bring their information forward in an environment that focuses on truth --- not on an agenda. (The questions in Senator Frankel's situation are included below.)
3) The Democratic party has taken the LOWER MORAL road here, by insisting on a reactionary move. We don't want to set a precedent to the public and American culture, for reactionary behavior -- particularly in the arena of sexual harassment. Several of these accusers are anonymous. We are asking a sitting Senator to leave, without even knowing who's accused him?
4) If Senator Franken was set up here, then that truth too needs to be made public. If indeed there was misconduct then the degree needs to be known and appropriately dealt with.
5) Dealing appropriately with misconduct includes graduated consequences based on the severity, ability to impact victims and our culture. It does not include zero tolerance, nor unthoughtful reactionary consequences.
6) An investigation would bring the whole harassment topic into the media, and public light, giving it MORE time to develop and grow and get defined and understood... and just plain talked about.
7) In nearly every other recent #MeToo situation, many people found it credible and hard to deny. It rang true to us. In Senator Franken's case, there are many more doubts. It just hasn't rung as true. This has been expressed by many victims of childhood sexual abuse, and by people harassed in the work place. An abuser can cover up, and look very normal, but there's something else here, hard to qualify, that many people are bothered by.
8) When voters are deciding on a candidate, they need to assess based on the information available to them at the time. They can not wait for a trial to vote. Innocent before guilty applies to sentencing in a courtroom. In some cases the evidence appears overwhelming, in other cases it's less so, and they can use their assessment to decide how it will influence their vote.
9) There are a number of questions including from the hard evidence, in this particular situation. (They are listed below.)
Therefore we are signing this petition, and respectfully asking that the Democratic Party leadership reassess this situation and set up an immediate independent investigation, and that Senator Franken be asked to remain while this transpires.
For those interested:
Below is a long list of questions in this particular case.
a) Using the exif, metadata on the photo provided by Ms. Tweenden, it's timestamped 12/21/2006 5:19pm. If it was a US time, west or east coast, or an Afghan time, it would put the event and flight and show on 12/21, not several days later on Christmas Eve. It's unusual for a victim to not remember the assault date accurately as one obsesses over the violation. This is particularly true for a high-emotional date like Christmas Eve.
b) The exif, metadata shows the photo modified on 7/1/2009 at around 11pm, the date Senator Franken was first elected to Congress. It's an odd coincidence.
c) This exif data that was on the photo, was available on the images released by CNN, BBC, and a Los Angelos radio station's website in their articles. They presumably got their photos from the official news release.
d) Professional photographers have remarked that the shadowing on Ms. Tweenden's photo is odd and indicates modification (photoshopping.)
e) Ms. Medz's photo shows what looks like a greened-out hand on her shoulder. It too may have been photoshopped.
f) Several accusers are anonymous. They stated they don't wish to come forward over worries about consequences at their jobs. This is over alleged "backside grabs." That seems like overkill on worrying.
g) Ms. Tweeden has close ties to Mr. Hannity at FOX, supports Trump heavily. Roger Stone tweeted about her upcoming announcement the night before. Ms. Tweeden received a book deal shortly after.
h) The atmosphere of the USO shows was raunchy. There are videos of Ms. Tweeden grabbing other men, and kissing other people. An image shown in the photo, that looks like a sexual prank joke, should be considered within that environment. There could be misunderstandings.
i) FALSE CLAIMS: We are aware of claims that the photographer said Ms. Tweeden was awake and in on the joke. There's also claims that that Ms. Tweeden was coached (from Tom Arnold). There's claims that then Mr. Franken has a 24/hour body guard and didn't see this happen. All of these are unproven. The photographer claim is disproven on Snopes's website.
j) Ms. Tweeden claims maybe Senator Franken wrote the skit so that he could harasser her with a practice kiss. However, a 2003 video of that USO shows another actor doing the same skit with Senator Franken. That skit even includes the joke line saying, you wrote this skit to get to me to kiss you.
k) There's a photo of a practice of the skit, with the kiss, in front of a very bored looking set of band members. Ms. Tweeden claims the rehearsal was in private. It's unclear what happened.
l) Ms. Tweeden spend hours telling her story. The first day she emphasized the deep tongue thrust as the key aspect that was assaultive and disgusting. During the 2nd day during at least one telling, she talks about her head being grabbed forward, but grazes by use of tongue with barely a mention. It's unusual to change a key element of offense in one's story.
m) There is another person next to Ms. Tweeden on the plane, not wearing Kevlar or a helmet. It's unusual to fall asleep without taking any of that off. What did that person next to her see? Who is the photographer and what did he see? They also are in the jump seat, not the regular traveler passenger seats, which are much more comfortable and usual to use.
n) You can't grope someone very well through a Kevlar vest. Groping couldn't have happened.
o) The person who said Senator Franken tried to kiss her, also said she ducked and no kissing took place. She doesn't actually know what was intended.
p) She claims Senator Franken said he's an entertainer so she owes him. It's an awkward sounding wording to a number of people. Would someone say "entertainer" or would they say "I'm famous" or "i'm a comedian"?
q) Another person accused him of squeezing her waist during a photo. Do we consider that harassment?
r) The emotional picture doesn't line up either. Ms. Tweeden tells how she said no, and of her sense of outrage and power. In sexual harassment and assault, very memorable are items said by the perpetrator that made you feel powerless after you stood up to them. In the moment she pushed him away, she doesn't describe anything said by Senator Franken.
s) A person who can apologize with concern about his accusers, is not fitting the pattern of an abuser.
t) Senator Franken has taken many, many photos. Maybe he's sloppy about where he puts his hands, and isn't paying any attention. There are people who are like that. With all those photos, if grabbed, some women would say nothing.However, with that many, some women would yelp and react and yell in the moment. People around would notice. Yet somehow that type of incident has never made the news over the years. While abuse is often done in secret, this was in public. So there should be some indication of prior "yelping."
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