Leeann Velez Tweeden
June 13, 1973
|Occupation||Model, announcer, television personality|
|Height||5 ft 5 in (165 cm)|
Tweeden was born in Manassas, Virginia, to Bill Tweeden, a retired Air Force Chief Mechanic, and his wife Catherine. She is of Filipino descent on her mother's side. After graduating from Osbourn Park High School in 1991, Tweeden moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in modeling.
In 1992, while working as a hostess at a Hooters restaurant in Colorado Springs, Colorado, she won first place in the Venus International Model Search. This break led to national exposure, including a regular role as a fitness model on the TV show Fitness Beach. Tweeden modeled for promotional work for Hooters (which included an appearance in the restaurant's 1994 calendar), Venus International, and Frederick's of Hollywood. In the early 2000s, Tweeden hosted many segments of the Fox Sports Net show, Bluetorch TV. Tweeden was a correspondent for Fox Sports Networks' The Best Damn Sports Show Period from 2001 to 2007. In 2008, Tweeden became the third hostess of the NBC late night television series Poker After Dark. She has also appeared on the political discussion series Hannity in 2011 and 2012. She was a member of the "Great American Panel" and also occasionally appeared on the panel of Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld. Tweeden was seen in pre- and post-game coverage of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Fox Sports West and on Fox Sports 1's UFC Tonight, with Kenny Florian and Ariel Helwani.
In August 1996, Tweeden appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine and as part of a fitness model pictorial for that issue. She did not appear nude. In December 2011, at 38 years old, she again appeared on the cover of Playboy, this time in a nude pictorial.
In 2002, she was a guest character in the motocross video game Freekstyle as a motocross rider. The March 2007 issue of FHM (the final U.S. issue ever printed) featured Tweeden as the cover girl. As part of Hooters' 25th anniversary in 2008, she was named among "The Top Hooters Girls of all time".
Allegations against Al Franken
On October 30, 2017, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier was interviewed by the McIntyre show about a sexual assault that occurred when she was in her 20s and was a congressional staffer for Representative Leo Ryan. She reported Ryan's chief of staff "kissed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth". McIntyre said that led to a conversation with Tweeden about an alleged incident between her and Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken. Two weeks later, self-described agent provocateur and right-wing Republican operative Roger Stone wrote, "It’s Al Franken's 'time in the barrel". Franken next in long list of Democrats to be accused of 'grabby' behavior." Following the posting of Tweeden's story, Alex Jones, whom the New Yorker magazine identified as an "extremist radio host" for Infowars, broadcast that Stone told him, in advance, "Get ready. Franken’s next". Stone told author and New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer that a Fox broadcasting executive, a friend of Tweeden had advised him of the story.
On November 16, 2017, Tweeden gave an interview to 790 KABC and wrote in a post on its website that Franken behaved inappropriately toward her when the two were on a 2006 USO tour to the Middle East. Tweeden stated that Franken, who in 2008 had been elected to the Senate from Minnesota, insisted that they rehearse the kiss that appeared in the script for a skit in the USO show: "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." She said she pushed him away, feeling "disgusted and violated". Tweeden wrote that Franken also posed for a photograph with her while she was asleep on the C-17 cargo plane flying home. According to the Washington Post, the photograph, "shows Franken looking into a camera, his hands either over or on Tweeden’s chest as she slept". A subsequent review of the photo revealed that it may have been a parody of a skit that had been used in the USO show's comedy routine. In the skit, Franken appears as a doctor who informs Tweeden's character that "a woman your age should have a complete breast examination every year"; Franken then approaches her with his arms outstretched and his hands aimed at her chest.
Although Tweeden stated "he wrote that sketch just to kiss me", it was later confirmed that the same kissing skit had been performed on the USO tour by several other actresses in previous years. It had been intended as a callback to the Bob Hope/Raquel Welch USO skits of the Vietnam era. Numerous witnesses on that tour recalled that Tweeden had performed the skit on multiple occasions. CNBC's John Harwood said in defense of Franken, referring to a video taken of her "humping" a surprised, married comedian Robin Williams on a similar 2004 USO tour, "[T]hat pic was obviously a joke, not groping, just like Leeann Tweeden wrapping her leg around Robin Williams and smacking his butt; entertainment for soldiers deployed overseas is raunchy like that." Franken responded, saying: "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 issued a longer apology later, which Tweeden accepted. Other accusations of sexual misconduct—including grabbing a woman's bottom while posing for a photo—followed Tweeden's, though many thought these accounts were unfounded or did not rise to the level of gross misconduct contemporaneously revealed by the #MeToo movement. Badly shaken, Franken resigned from the Senate on January 2, 2018.
Tweeden's version of events has since come under considerably more scrutiny and several factual inaccuracies with her account have been revealed. Seven Democratic current and former U.S. senators who demanded Franken's resignation in 2017 went on the record to say they had been wrong to do so. Patrick Leahy, the veteran Democrat from Vermont, said that his decision to seek Franken's resignation without first getting all the facts was "one of the biggest mistakes I've made" in forty-five years in the Senate. Presidential primary candidate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, however, has not expressed any regrets for leading the demand for Franken's resignation. Gillibrand's credibility and 2020 Presidential candidacy suffered from her premature statements and convictions though. Moreover, Tweeden's questionable accusations have ushered in a new understanding of the #MeToo era. Even though many thought she had photographic "proof" of sexual harassment, many now think that a rush to judgment on accusations like this are premature. Some have seen this episode as an illustration for why due process is still necessary in accusations like this.
Tweeden made an appearance on the season 10 finale of That Metal Show.
- Deanna Merryman, a fellow model who attended high school with Tweeden.
- "KABC/Los Angeles Shuffles Lineup, Puts Ben Shapiro In PM Drive, John Phillips And Jillian Barberie In Mornings". www.allaccess.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2019. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
- Viebeck, Elise; Lee, Michelle Ye Hee (November 16, 2017). "Franken's accuser stepped forward after years of silent outrage". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- "Leeann Tweeden, All-American Spouse". Military Spouse. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
- "Leeann Tweeden". playboy.com. PEI. Archived from the original on February 22, 2015. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
-  Bluetorch TV
- "Poker on NBC". Archived from the original on September 3, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2008.
- Leeann Tweeden at IMDb
- Hannity (July 26, 2013). "Defending Weiner? 'My Mayor Is Not My Husband, Sean!'". Fox News Insider. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- "Leeann Tweeden Named News Anchor For KABC/Los Angeles 'McIntyre In The Morning'" Archived November 17, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, AllAccess.com, February 7, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- "Leeann Tweeden Joins 790 KABC's 'McIntyre in the Morning' as News Anchor". www.kabc.com. February 7, 2017. Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- "1996 Leeann Tweeden Best Damn Sports Show Period Signed Playboy Magazine". mearsonlineauctions.com. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
- "Poker TV Host Leann Tweeden Poses For Playboy". ESPN. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
- Rodriguez, Julio (November 11, 2011). "Leeann Tweeden Poses For Playboy Magazine: Former Poker After Dark Hostess Bares All". cardplayer.com. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
- FHMs Leeann Tweeden interview and photo spread Archived October 1, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
- "The Top HOOTERS Girls of all time". HOOTERS Magazine. July/ August 2008. p. 108.
- Military Spouse Magazine: "Leeann Tweeden: All-American Spouse" by Kate Dolack Archived November 17, 2017, at the Wayback Machine 2014
- "Leeann Tweeden - About". Facebook - Leeann Tweeden. Facebook. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
- Mayer, Jane. "The Case of Al Franken". The New Yorker (July 29, 2019). Archived from the original on July 22, 2019. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
- Stracqualuris, Veronica; Bruce, Mary; Parkinson, John (October 27, 2017). "California congresswoman alleges sexual harassment on Capitol Hill". ABC News. Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
- After indictment, pressure on Stone is ‘significant,’ says former prosecutor Archived July 23, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, PBS Newshour, January 25, 2019. Accessed July 23, 2019.
- Tweeden, Leeann (November 16, 2017) "Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It" Archived November 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, 790KABC.
- Wang, Amy B; Ye Hee Lee, Michelle; Bever, Lindsey (November 16, 2017). "'Al Franken kissed and groped me without my consent,' broadcaster Leeann Tweeden says" Archived November 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The Washington Post.
- Fandos, Nicholas (November 16, 2017). "Senator Al Franken Accused of Groping a Woman in 2006" Archived November 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times.
- Reuters Staff (November 16, 2017). "Woman accuses Senator Al Franken of unwanted groping, kiss". Reuters. Archived from the original on November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- A teenaged accusation against Brett Kavanaugh is no excuse to rehabilitate adult serial sexual predator Al Franken Archived April 3, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, Washington Examiner, Becket Adams, September 17, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
- Variety Magazine: "Al Franken Apologizes After Being Accused of Groping, Kissing Radio Host Without Consent" By Maane Khatchatourian Archived November 17, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, November 16, 2017
- "Read Al Franken's apology following accusation of groping and kissing without consent". CNN. November 17, 2017. Archived from the original on November 16, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- Savransky, Rebecca (November 17, 2017). "Woman who accused Franken says she accepts his apology". The Hill. Archived from the original on November 18, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- Rao, Maya (January 2, 2018). "Transition time: Franken moves out, Smith moves in". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on January 2, 2018. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- Yoffe, Emily (March 26, 2019). "Democrats Need to Learn From Their Al Franken Mistake". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 3, 2021. zero width space character in
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- "Leeann Tweeden Married Life with Husband Chris Dougherty". Frost Snow. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
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