A second woman has come forward with allegations of harassment against Senator Al Franken.
Melanie Morgan, who is co-founder of Media Equalizer, said Franken harassed her after she appeared on an episode of the Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher in 2000.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Melanie Morgan Was an ABC Radio Talk Show Host When the Alleged Incident Happened in 2000
Melanie Morgan was working as radio talk show host for KSFO in San Francisco back in 2000, when she appeared as a guest on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect show, according to Media Equalizer, which broke the story on Thursday.
She appeared with then-comedian and writer Al Franken, actor William Baldwin and then Lt. Governor Joe Rogers. An argument erupted over some budget numbers.
“I made a statement about the budget numbers, Franken challenged me, I challenged him back. It was about spending priorities, actually just a mundane discussion. But he obsessed over it,” Morgan said.
Franken was elected to the United States Senate in 2008.
2. Melanie Morgan Said Al Franken Called Her Home and Harassed Her After the Show
Melanie Morgan said Al Franken argued with her after the show and then continued his harassment, even calling her home.
“He approached me backstage, angrily called me out on those numbers and insisted he would prove he was right. He wouldn’t leave me alone, he kept following me. As a woman, his presence and proximity to me felt very threatening and intimidating,” Morgan said. “I didn’t realize his creepy behavior after the show meant it would continue in the days to come.
“He approached Carol, the show’s producer and demanded my home phone number, which was a clear violation of network protocol. I had thought that was the end of the story and was shocked when he started calling my home, badgering me repeatedly,” she said.
“I became fearful and called Carol to complain and asked her to tell him to back off. But he made another call after that. I thought that he might end up stalking me at my home in Northern California, it was that bad,” she said. “By the third phone call I was outraged and terrified, as he is really disturbed,” Morgan recounted.
3. Melanie Morgan Said Al Franken Backed Off After She Threatened To Call the Police
Melanie Morgan said the harassment finally stopped after she threatened to call the police.
Morgan also said she would be willing to testify about Franken’s alleged behavior. “I will happily testify before the Senate Ethics Committee, should a hearing be held regarding Franken’s behavior,” Morgan told Media Equalizer.
4. Senator Al Franken Was Accused of Sexual Harassment During a USO Tour
Al Franken has been accused of sexual harassment by Leeann Tweeden in 2006 during a USO tour to support the troops. Tweeden said Franken took pictures of her while she was sleeping. In the photo, the future senator can be seen grabbing her breasts while posing for the camera.
Tweeden said she also kissed her without her consent, presumably while rehearsing for a skit for the show.
Morgan said Tweeden’s accusation helped her come forward. “I never forgot that experience and it informed me of his lack of character and obsessive personality. I believe every word Leann wrote.”
Senator Al Franken apologized for the incident in a statement on Wednesday. According to CNN, Franken said: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
He later released another 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.
5. Melanie Morgan Is Currently Co-Founder of Media Equalizer
Media Equalizer is a conservative website founded by Melanie Morgan and Brian Maloney.
According to her bio on her website, Melanie Morgan has worked in radio for many years. She co-hosted The Brian Sussman and Melanie Morgan Show in 2012. She was co-host of the Lee Rodgers and Melanie Morgan show at KSFO for 14 years and also was a reporter for KGO-TV in San Francisco.
In 2009, Talk Radio Network hired her as co-anchor of the network’s morning show America’s Morning News. She also formed the International Cold Case Investigators Association, a non-profit aimed at helping solve cold cases.