Arianna Huffington denies Franken behaved inappropriately in response to new photos

Arianna Huffington denies Franken behaved inappropriately in response to new photos
© Greg Nash

Arianna Huffington is denying that anything inappropriate occurred after The New York Post's Page Six on Monday published images that appear to show Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenCould Andrew Cuomo — despite scandals — be re-elected because of Trump? Al Franken to launch 15-stop comedy tour Democrats, GOP face crowded primaries as party leaders lose control MORE (D-Minn.) groping her during a photoshoot in 2000.

“The notion that there was anything inappropriate in this photo shoot is truly absurd,” the co-founder of the Huffington Post said in a statement to Page Six, which ran the story under the headline "Newly surfaced pics show Al Franken grabbing Arianna Huffington’s breasts and butt."
The pics of Huffington and Franken come amid allegations that he groped women inappropriately in the past, including at least once after becoming a senator.
Huffington said the photos were meant to recreate a TV sketch she did with Franken in 1996.
“Al and I did a comedic sketch for Bill Maher’s ‘Politically Incorrect’ called ‘Strange Bedfellows,’ in which the whole point, as the name makes clear, was that we were doing political commentary from bed. This shoot was looking back at the sketch, and we were obviously hamming it up for comedic effect," Huffington wrote.

“I’ve been great friends with Al and his wife Franni for over 20 years and there has never been anything remotely inappropriate in our interactions,” she continued.
Huffington's statement challenges the account of a source who described to the New York Post that Franken's actions that day were inappropriate.
“That’s his tactic, pretend like it’s all a big joke. Arianna was pushing his hands away. He was groping her. There was some fun attached to it, but she wasn’t enjoying it. She definitely told him to stop and pushed him away,” the unnamed source said.
“Franken stood there with his hand on her bottom for a long time, because there are numerous frames, each taken seconds apart, and his hand was there the whole time — his hand wasn’t just there for a quick moment,” the source continued.
The report comes after a radio anchor last week accused Franken of kissing and groping her without consent during a 2006 USO tour, offering a photo as evidence.

Franken issued an apology shortly after Leeann Tweeden came forward with her story, and later said he supported a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into the allegations against him.

On Monday, a second woman accused Franken of groping her without consent — this time after he was a senator.

A spokesman from Franken's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the new photos.