Franken Accuser Tweeden Tears Up On CNN: I've Been Angry About It For 10 Years


CNN: Radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden speaks with CNN's Jake Tapper after accusing Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) of groping her and kissing her without her consent in 2006.

"I still sort of have that knot in my stomach. You know, I don't feel like yay, it feels great coming out and talking about it. I mean, I still feel kind of sick about it, you know? It's not a feel-good thing. I still feel sort of embarrassed about it, you know?" Tweeden said about the situation.

"You don't need me to say that this, but you did nothing to be embarrassed about. I know you know that intellectually. There's nothing you did that you should be embarrassed about," Tapper reassured her.

"How are you holding up?" he asked.

"You know, I've been up since 2:00 in the morning, California time, I haven't eaten anything. I have like cotton mouth," Tweeden said. "I don't know if you could tell. I feel like my teeth are sticking to my gums. You know, I'm OK, I'm holding up. You know, I just -- it's been nonstop. That's all."

"I don't want to be cliche, but, you know, you talk about leaving the world a better place for your kids, you know -- sorry," Tweeden said tearing up. "But you know, you do. You want to leave, you know -- you try to set examples for your children, right? You want to leave the world a better place. You try to -- you want to set examples and you want the world to be better for your kids. You want to leave it better than what you had it."

"And it's like you know, I've had so many of my girlfriends text me. I mean, my phone died already twice today because people have been texting and calling and they're like, you know, stay strong because you're doing something that is going to make the world better for your daughter, you know?" she added.

Full transcript, via CNN:

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Joining me right now is Leeann Tweeden.

Leeann, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.

Tell us about this rehearsal incident. It's 2006. You're preparing for a USO show, were you in Afghanistan, were you in Iraq, where were you?

LEEANN TWEEDEN, NEWS ANCHOR: Actually, the first show was in Kuwait, we started in Kuwait. So, then we move on to Iraq and then we end up in Afghanistan. So, the first one was in Kuwait. We were backstage, sort of the backstage area in Kuwait as a makeshift backstage area which is actually their gym, which is behind the stage that they built there and we just sort of had a cordoned off area up against the gym wall which is a mirrored area. So, they kind of have that for us so we can see, you know, when everybody changes back there and everything and you can see, you know, make sure you're dressed and everything.

And, you know, Al just wanted to rehearse. And he's like, let's go over our lines and let's do -- we really should rehearse the kiss and that was the first time I'd heard that part of it. And I'm like why -- we don't need to rehearse the kiss. I sort of blew him off. And then he's like, no, we really need to rehearse the kiss. And I'm like, come on, Al, this isn't "Saturday Night Live," we're doing it live on stage, it's no big deal. And he just persisted and he said again, let's rehearse the scene.

And, you know, I was trying to make light of the situation because I started feeling uncomfortable because I was like, OK, what is he getting at here? And, you know, I was trying to be funny, I said, OK, Al, you lean right, I'll lean right and we'll be fine, you know?

And he's like, you know, actors really need to -- they need to rehearse. And I'm thinking, I'm not an actress, Al. You know, I'm a host, I'm a TV host. This is what I do. I don't, I don't act. That's a whole other -- that's a whole other thing people do and that's not what I do.

And he goes, no, we really need to do this. So, persistence and just making me feel uncomfortable, I finally said, OK. Let's rehearse the damn scene, OK. And you know, the whole time in my mind, I'm thinking, it's like Bob Hope, you know, you're going to come in for the kiss, I'm the girl, and I'm going to just turn my head or I would cover his mouth. And it would be funny, right, because we're doing this to entertain the troops. It's like a shtick, right?

And so, he comes in and it all happened so fast. He comes in, and you know, at the last second we're coming in, and he just -- he puts his hand on the back of my neck and he comes in so fast and he just sort of, you know, it's like that, you know, there was no finesse to it at all, let's put it that way. And he just mashes his mouth to my lips and, you know, like wet and he puts his tongue in my mouth.

And, you know, my reaction, it was just sort of a -- you know, I push his chest away with my hands and I'm like, if you ever do that to me again -- I was so angry. I was in disbelief, really. And I just sort of, you know, my hand -- to this day I talk about it, and my hand clenches into a fist because I think my initial reaction was that I wanted to hit him. That's what I feel. And I still feel that to this day I think.

And, you know, I just looked at him and said, don't you ever do that to me again, because I won't be so nice about it again the next time. And I just walked out. And I just walked out. My mind was reeling.

And I'm thinking, you know, I've got to find a bathroom, I wanted to rinse my mouth out. That's all I could think about. I just want to go rinse my mouth out.

And I say I'm not an actress, but let me tell you, in five minutes, they're introducing us to go on stage to do our very first show, and I think I was the best actress in the world because I had to go out and feel like Al Franken, ladies and gentlemen, and pretend like we were the best of friends. And do the whole show and standing right next to him.

TAPPER: Now, I know you've said that you spent much of the rest of the tour being as professional as possible on stage, acting the part --


TAPPER: -- while also avoiding him as much as possible backstage.

Was there ever any acknowledgment by him that this had happened? Any sort of attempt to talk about it or apologize or anything?

TWEEDEN: No, absolutely not. No.

And I'll tell you this, there were like little petty things that went on, you know, little comments here and there. Just like sort of passive aggressiveness. We would do autograph sessions after the show because that's what you would do. When you go entertain the troops, you put on a show and then afterwards, the troops can come and you sign autographs, you have little autograph sheets, right.

Well, they put out long tables and people, you sit next to each other and you sign autographs and troops can line up where they want and get an autograph. Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, very popular and people line up. Well, sometimes, I'll be honest with you, there would be nobody in Al Franken's line because there's only a limited amount of time, and people would line up who they want to spend -- sometimes you can stand in one line and you only get one autograph for a night, you know, so they pick whoever line they really want to meet.

And one time, you know, and I always -- if I sat next to him, which it happened a lot because we're the hosts, so we would be sat next to each other and I would just sort of have my back to him like this. And one time I could see a picture moving, and I'm like, you know, I see the picture moving, I'm trying not to pay attention to it. You know, you're trying to sign and take pictures with troops, and I look down, and I see it kind of move back towards my pile, and there's my picture and Al Franken has drawn the devil's horns on my face and the goatee and the devil tail and the pitch fork.

And I'm -- you know, that's what I'm dealing with. So, he's now drawn me as the devil. You know, it's the little things like that -- so when it ends up that I have the picture taken of me that while I'm asleep that I don't see until I get home, it's like all of that in totality, right? Like --

TAPPER: Yes, and let's talk about that because people, I wanted -- because people who are watching may not have seen your press conference, might not know this. This photograph we're showing you right now.


TAPPER: You didn't see this until you got home from the tour. You received a CD of pictures from the photographer, and this was there. This was obviously taken when you were sleeping, and what was your reaction? Obviously, you didn't find it funny. I don't know anybody over the age of nine that might find it funny, but what did you think?

TWEEDEN: I mean, I saw it and, you know, knowing how I felt about him, I was angry because in my mind, he was doing that to -- that was like his parting gift, right?

Like, ha, she's going to see that after we're all gone and that's like, I gotcha, you know? Ha, ha. That's going to be the last thing she sees and, you know, I got the last laugh.

TAPPER: Directly related to the kiss in a way?

TWEEDEN: Oh, yes, of course. I mean, all of those little things that was done to me. Like oh, you're the devil, you know, ha, ha, you know. I mean, it's just -- you know, it's belittling, it's humiliating.

I mean, is that funny? Is that ever funny? I mean, I wasn't his friend. That's not -- I mean, is that funny if that's your wife or your daughter or your mom?

I mean, it's -- you know -- I mean, he came out with the, you know, apology and he's appalled by it now and I thought it was funny, obviously, it's not funny.

I mean, it's -- you know, I've been angry about it, Jake, for over 10 years.


TWEEDEN: And it's a -- you know, I don't know. I've held it inside -- my circle of friends and my husband have known how I felt about it for so long and, you know, I wanted to come out with it 10 years ago, and, you know, it wasn't the right time and, you know, I don't want anything. I didn't come out for it to destroy anybody. I came out because I want, you know, if he did this to somebody else or if somebody else has been sexually assaulted or if they've been, you know, abused in any way, that may be somebody else can come out in real time because they find strength in numbers because people are coming out now.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier came on our radio show here in Los Angeles and she told about her story when her chief of staff when she was a congressional aide, when she was in her 20s did the same thing. And when I heard her talk about that on our radio show, "McIntyre in the Morning", right here on KABC in Los Angeles, and she said, he pinned me up against the wall, put his hands on my face, kissed me and stuck his tongue in my mouth, I went --


TWEEDEN: -- that was Al Franken. He did that to me.

TAPPER: You were triggered in a way, yes.

TWEEDEN: You know, that's a sign. It triggered me. I said, you know what, that's going to make me talk.

And maybe if Al Franken did this to somebody else, or if somebody else has a story and they see me talking about it because, look, I was nervous to come out about it. This doesn't make me feel good. Everybody goes oh, you're so strong, you're going to feel so great talking about it.

I still have a knot in my stomach. This isn't -- you know, this isn't like some like, oh, yes, I'm going to do it and feel great about it. You know --

TAPPER: It's difficult. It's difficult to do.

TWEEDEN: It is hard. Of course, it is, you know?

TAPPER: Tell me why -- I don't doubt you at all, tell me why it's hard, because I mean, first of all, it's -- this is -- I think it's just important for people to hear --

TWEEDEN: It's embarrassing.

TAPPER: Yes, there you go. That's why people don't come forward. TWEEDEN: Right. It's -- why do you think there are people that

haven't talked -- there are still a lot of people that haven't told their stories. And, you know, in the case of Roy Moore, there are people that 40 years later that are reluctantly coming out about it.

I mean, it's embarrassing. It's humiliating. There are still people I've looked on Twitter that are still blaming me for it. I'm like, you look at the picture, I'm asleep and there's still somehow it's my fault.

TAPPER: Right.

TWEEDEN: Really? OK. Al Franken has come out and apologized and said, you know what, that was in poor taste. I thought it was funny, and it's still my fault. That's why women don't come out.

TAPPER: The only thing I'm going to say to you is don't read Twitter for the next week. That's the only thing I'm going to say to you in terms of --

TWEEDEN: What did you say?

TAPPER: Don't read Twitter for the next week.

TWEEDEN: Right, I know.

TAPPER: Because you're going to find people who are against cancer patients on Twitter.

But I do want -- you keep talking about Al Franken's -- Senator Franken's apology and I want to read you -- he put out one statement, then he put out a second one. And I want to read it to you because I want -- I want to get your reaction.

And this is what he said, quote: 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. I respect women. I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed.

But I want to say something else, too. Over the last few months, all of us, including and especially men who respect women have been forced to take a good hard look at our actions and think, perhaps shamefully for the first time, about how those actions have affected women. While I don't remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to, and believe women's experiences.

I'm asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken and I will gladly cooperate and the truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard and believed. They deserve to know I'm their ally and supporter. I have let them down and am committed to making it up to them.

I didn't read the whole thing. There was a section in there about the photograph too, but that's most of it.

What do you think of that? Is that -- do you accept his apology?

TWEEDEN: I do. I do. And, you know, the one that came out this morning, I accepted that one too. It was very short and very brief.

My initial reaction was, it sounded like a staffer put that out hastily. You know, which maybe, could have been the truth, you know, to get it out quickly because when it hit, it was, you know, it went viral and it was everywhere. But that one did seem heartfelt. And I believe it. And I believe him, you know? And I honestly do believe him.

And you know, I wasn't -- I wasn't waiting for an apology from him, but I gladly accept it and thank you, Senator Franken. And, yes.

TAPPER: Do you want him to call you?

TWEEDEN: Sure. I mean, you know, look, I -- my husband and I saw him at a USO metro gala a couple years after and I was very cold to him. He found me in a room and said, hello, Leeann, and I said, hi, Al, and I turned and walked away from him, and my husband said, hi, Al, and turned and walked away from him, and he didn't get it them, and didn't apologize to me then. So, if he didn't get it then and say I'm sorry for, you know, anything that I did, you know, and it took this for the apology, so -- but whatever.

It's -- you know, I'm glad that he -- that second apology, I think maybe he had some time to digest it and think about it and, you know, I believe him. And I think it is heartfelt. And I think men and, you know, there are men victims that have come out and, you know, this whole Harvey Weinstein era in the last month that have come out, yes. People need to take a long, hard look at the culture that has been happening since, you know, men and women have walked the earth, frankly.

TAPPER: Right.

TWEEDEN: And I hope it's changing, and I hope it will change because it's going to take all of us. And not only what happens behind closed doors, a lot of this abuse and harassment happens in front of other people. And when other people let it happen and don't speak up to say something and say look, that's not OK, it's going to continue. So, I'm glad he did speak up and I appreciate that.


TAPPER: Well, was anybody there when the kiss took place -- TWEEDEN: No.

TAPPER: It was just you too two.

TWEEDEN: No, no. It was just us two backstage behind a little cordoned off curtain area, yes.

TAPPER: What do you think about the Senate is calling for an ethics investigation, ethics committee investigation. Franken himself called for it. But just a day ago, when it came out that more than $15 million had been paid off in settlements to women for sexual harassment and other charges by Congress, there was a lot of question about, should Congress really be in charge of investigating itself? Can we really?

I mean, I don't know if you saw in the coverage of it when Jackie Speier did her hearing in the House a couple days ago, but they put up a chart of what women or men need to do to lodge a complaint of sexual harassment. And it's this process, it's like a Rube Goldberg design that only could have been designed by somebody who actually was a sexual harasser who was trying to dissuade women from lodging these complaints.

I guess the question, is the Senate, if ethics committee, forgetting Al Franken for a second, is it enough for senators or should there be something else?

TWEEDEN: I think there should be -- if anybody is going to be investigated, I mean, I'm not talking about this case in particular, but it should always be an independent investigation because you can't expect the -- I'm not going to say swamp, you can't expect people within their own group to investigate themselves. That's never going to be a fair investigation because they're always going to protect themselves.

So I would think an outside investigation or an outside party that's unbiased and not part of that affiliation is always going to be called for because they're always going to protect themselves. And that's $15 million payout, you -- I mean, that's like having these NDAs, that's how you protect --

TAPPER: Right.

TWEEDEN: -- that's how Harvey Weinstein was able to protect because that's how women stay silent, or men, right? When you can pay off and say, I'm going to pay you for your silence. OK, maybe I abused you, maybe I sexually harassed you, maybe I raped you, but if I pay you money, but you're going to stay silent, they can continue that type of behavior.

TAPPER: They do. That's the whole point. Right.

TWEEDEN: And they do that in Congress, and Congress they're paying them off with our money.

TAPPER: Right. TWEEDEN: They're paying them off with taxpayer money. I'm sure that $15 million didn't come out of their personal pocket, right?


TWEEDEN: So how do we not know names? How do we not know what happened? Names need to be named and the money needs to come out of their own personal checkbooks, OK?

This is wrong. When names start being named, right, and I think there was a call yesterday on Capitol Hill that if we start knowing names and people start being called out, maybe this behavior will start changing.

TAPPER: Do you -- are you willing to testify before the Senate Ethics Committee?

TWEEDEN: I would be, sure. I mean, I -- yes. OK, if they asked me to.

TAPPER: Do you think that Senator Franken should step down from his job or if he fails to be expelled from the Senate by his colleagues?

TWEEDEN: I'm not asking for that. I mean, that's not why I came out with my story. I'm not asking for him to step down as senator, that's not my -- if somebody else calls for that, but that's not what I'm asking.

TAPPER: But in your heart, I mean, do you have any feeling? I mean, it sounds like you've nursed this understandably with a lot of resentment, again, completely understandably for 11 years. Do you want him punished? I mean, what -- or do you just want to be acknowledged as a human being and apologized to?

TWEEDEN: Yes. I think that's it, the latter. I think I just wanted him to apologize to me for that. And say he was sorry. And I think that second statement that he came out with and the acknowledgment of saying that it was wrong and that heartfelt and, you know, gathering his staff and saying, you know, what, it was wrong, and I think everybody needs to take a good, hard look. And I think he really came from a place of honesty there.

And I think that's really where change is going to be driven from. Not from the victims coming out and talking about it. I think it's going to come from the people who maybe do the abusing that don't even realize they're doing the abusing, because it's so a part of the culture and it's been so a part of when you can do this and look at a camera and laugh and think that that's OK and you can get away with it and you know you're being photographed and you know you're doing it to a woman and you think that that's OK and you can do it with impunity and you think you can just get away with it and it's ha-ha funny -- that's what's wrong with the culture, you know? So if we can have the people doing the abusing change, that's where, that's when the change is going to occur.

TAPPER: You've been -- we've all been watching the changes in the society when it comes to this issue of sexual assault and harassment in the last year, I guess -- I mean, slowly and now quickly. Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, Mark Halperin, Harvey Weinstein, James Toback, Brett Ratner, on and on and on and on, are there any of the women who came for in any of those cases who inspired you? Because I think right now, you're probably inspiring a lot of people. And I'm wondering if are there any women who came before you who inspired you to come forward today?

TWEEDEN: I mean, I don't think specifically. I think it's more of -- as a whole. I think, you know, just for me, I say Congresswoman Jackie Speier, just because when she came on our show a couple weeks ago and she told the story and it was just almost verbatim what happened to me, and she happens to be, you know, a congresswoman and it's political and, you know, Al Franken is now a senator. And it just -- it just sounded like my words you know what I mean?

So, I think that's why -- it was a trigger point for me. And it inspired know come forward. But all of those women -- we're just standing on the backs of those women. You know, I just -- it takes courage and strength and I only pulled strength from them.

Look, this morning, right before I talked about it on our radio show, I was terrified, you know? I told my husband right before I came to do your show, I'm sitting in the car and I'm like, there was a moment this morning, all of the sudden, I tried to go out and go to the bathroom and there were all kinds of TV cameras in the hallway. I had no idea, Jake, honestly, I had no idea what it was going to turn into. I thought maybe a camera was going to show up and then, all of the sudden, the hallway was blocked.

And I kind of like -- I need to go to the bathroom and right at that moment, my husband texted me, how are you holding up? And I literally just locked myself in the bathroom for a minute and like I wanted to start crying. It was just like sort of overwhelming emotion, you know, and I even had Lauren, one of the girls that came out about Harvey Weinstein, who is a friend of ours and I've known her for a long time, and she told me -- she texted me last night she knew I was going to talk about it this morning, and she said, you're going to feel better, you know? Once it comes out, you're going to feel better.

I haven't gotten to that point yet, I'll be honest. I still sort of have that knot in my stomach. You know, I don't feel like yay, it feels great coming out and talking about it. I mean, I still feel kind of sick about it, you know? It's not a feel-good thing. I still feel sort of embarrassed about it, you know? It's --

TAPPER: You don't need me to say that this, but you did nothing to be embarrassed about. I know you know that intellectually. There's nothing you did that you should be embarrassed about.

How are you holding up? You have a loving husband. You have a support network there. Are you doing OK?

TWEEDEN: I just want to go home and -- I have a 2-year-old and a 4- year-old, and I just want to hug my babies and my husband. That's all.

You know, I've been up since 2:00 in the morning, California time, I haven't eaten anything. I have like cotton mouth.

I don't know if you could tell. I feel like my teeth are sticking to my gums.

You know, I'm OK, I'm holding up. You know, I just -- it's been nonstop. That's all.

I'm OK. Thank you. I'm all right.

TAPPER: The world that you're making for your children, for your 2- year-old and for your 4-year-old, you realize that you are making it better for them. I don't know the genders of your children, but it actually doesn't even matter.

TWEEDEN: I have a boy and a girl.

TAPPER: OK. Well, but it's -- but both of them need to be impacted by this, right? Not just the girl.

TWEEDEN: You know, you always -- I don't want to be cliche, but, you know, you talk about leaving the world a better place for your kids, you know -- sorry.

TAPPER: Nothing to be sorry about.

TWEEDEN: I didn't think I was going to do that.

But you know, you do. You want to leave, you know -- you try to set examples for your children, right? You want to leave the world a better place. You try to -- you want to set examples and you want the world to be better for your kids. You want to leave it better than what you had it.

And it's like you know, I've had so many of my girlfriends text me. I mean, my phone died already twice today because people have been texting and calling and they're like, you know, stay strong because you're doing something that is going to make the world better for your daughter, you know?

And maybe I am. You know? I didn't look at it that way. But maybe I am. And if I am, OK. I'll take it.

TAPPER: You are. But of course you are. But it's not just for your daughter. You're doing it for your son too, right?


TAPPER: Because he doesn't -- you don't want him to grow up and either misbehave or --


TAPPER: -- you know, have women friends or family members who are affected that way, because obviously what you're doing is making the world a better place because you're bringing awareness in a very public and -- I know you don't feel it, but very brave way.

You said something earlier that surprised me. You didn't know how much this was going to -- how big a deal this was going to be. You thought there might be one camera. You didn't know it was going to be such a huge story of interest to so many people. Why?

TWEEDEN: Well -- I mean, I knew it would be a story because it deals with Senator Franken. I didn't know that it would be like this. You know?

I mean -- I guess, I mean, I guess it's like trying to describe the Grand Canyon to somebody and then seeing it with your own eyes, you know, I guess maybe it's just a little bit different in perspective, you know, but I just -- it's been a whirlwind. It's been nonstop. I think the flood of phone calls and e-mails and messages and text messages and the interest and the stories and the trending and -- it's overwhelming. You know?

Just, you know, haven't had a couple minutes to myself. And like I said, you know, I just -- you know, I haven't had a chance to see my kids. And, you know, I've been able to talk to my husband like twice and just for a minute and, you know, it's just -- it's, you know -- it's just overwhelming. Really.

TAPPER: One of the -- I know you're not doing this in any partisan way at all. These stories inevitably become partisan, not because of you. Not because of how the media necessarily covers it, but because partisans seize upon it.

And we saw that with the allegations against Donald Trump last year. We see this with allegations against Roy Moore.

What do you think about that? About people taking credible allegations of sexual misconduct and using them for partisan purposes, one way or the other?

TWEEDEN: Disgusting. I mean, when is -- how can you take sides when there's right and when there's wrong? I mean, it's -- I tried to describe it yesterday. We were talking about it on the radio show, and I said if you listen to stories like we watch "The Voice" for example, right, where you turn your seats around and you hear a voice and you don't see the face, you don't see the person, you don't know where that voice is coming from. You just hear the beautiful melody and you just hear the talent, right?

If you just heard the stories of what some of these people do and you've heard the accusations and then you hear the accusers or the stories that have come out and you didn't know anything about the person or their affiliation or what -- if they're a liberal or if they're a Republican or, you know, what side they're affiliated with politically. And you made your decision based on what you hear are facts or the allegations or what-have-you, it would be a very different story. And it's so sad to me that, you know, if you are sexually assaulted or

abused or raped or whatever it is that has happened to you, you're a victim or you're an abuser or whatever, it doesn't matter if you have a D or R in front of your name, that should have nothing to do with it. I mean, that's the thing that when Congresswoman Spear came on the show, you know, she has, you know, teamed up with other Republican females in Congress to talk about like this is not a partisan issue. Like, when you're sexual assaulted, that -- it doesn't matter.

When you're sexual assaulted, it doesn't matter if you're a Republican or a Democrat. The guy doesn't know hey, are you a Republican or Democrat? Because, when I'm raping you I want to know which one you are. The affiliation doesn't matter, right? So I don't see how people can go, oh, I'm so happy that she was assaulted because she's a Republican or I'm so happy that he's been accused because he's a Democrat, like disgusting to me. Like -- that's -- this is not -- that's not the point here. Let's get back to the problem of what happened here and what is he being accused of regardless of what his affiliation is because that's the issue here. Let's not -- let's talk about the problem and the victim.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Do you think it's going to get better? Do you think that there is becoming more awareness because of all of these cases including yours today that the behavior will change and more women will come forward and fewer men will feel like they can try this nonsense, try -- assault women and get away with it?

TWEEDEN: You know, I'm a realist, so I hope it's going to get better and I think it will. Yes, I think -- I think more women are going to feel, and men too, I think people are going to feel more empowered to speak up when it happens. Is sexual assault and rape and all of these things still going to happen? Yes, it's going to happen because it's human nature and people are still going to be assaulted and things are, you know, we're not going to live in this perfect society where everybody's going to get along and, you know, we're going to have no crime and no rape and, you know, everything's going to be perfect and we're going to live in harmony. Let's be realistic. That's never going to happen, but, I do think times are changing. And I think you see in Hollywood now where these allegations come.

Look at the fall from grace of Harvey Weinstein and it has -- we're talking about a guy who ran Hollywood, who -- I mean, he could win an Oscar just by putting money into, you know -- I mean, it was just amazing how much control he had over, you know, the Oscar nominations and the movies that were put out and how much control he had over the movie that were put out and made and distributed and all of that. And his fall from grace was just unbelievable. And then you look at Kevin Spacey and how people just cut and ran. You look at Louis C.K. and people just cut and ran. And we're talking about accusations and when multiple people come out. I mean, none of these were "proven." I mean, they started hearing them and multiple people come out and people like, you know what, we've pulled all of it, we're cutting the movie, we're replacing him in a movie. We've cut our deals and they just cut and ran.

I mean, just at the first sight of it. So it's really been incredible. So I think times have changed. People don't even want to know. And there's been a silence departure -- I mean, people don't hear this, but in a lot of, you know, agencies in Hollywood, a lot of talent companies in Hollywood, there've been a lot of people that have silently cleaned out their desks and sort of just walked away that have either been privy to that have been maybe part of that sort of culture, that the hammers either coming down or they know that it's coming down the pipeline and have just gone, you know what, we're just going to take our leave now before maybe the shoe drops on them.

So it's, it's really -- it's happening there and maybe it's going to happen in more palaces like Capitol Hill or, you know, maybe it'll take a little bit longer to happen in middle America because the spotlight is not shining as bright, you know, at the local Chilies or at the local you know, Kinko's or wherever people are working where you know, you don't have a-list actresses and you know, big movie moguls and stuff. That people know their names because they see them on T.V. all the time. It might be a little bit different, but it's definitely, you know, I think the change, the tide is turning. And I think it's definitely -- people are more aware now and I think people are not as afraid to speak up because people are going to call it out as it happens and I think this younger generation and I think it's happening. I definitely do.

TAPPER: Leeann, one last question for you, and that is any woman or man watching right now who has experienced the kind of thing that you have experienced, what's your message to them as you go through the end of this very, very difficult day?

TWEEDEN: You know, you definitely got to find your strength with your -- with your loved ones and, you know, just know if -- the truth is on your side. If you have the truth on your side, you know, you can't go wrong. You've definitely got to -- you know, your heart's got to be in it to know that it's going to be definitely a difficult struggle, you know. It's going to be -- people are going to want to tear you down and people are going to want to, you know, challenge your credibility and going to want to say nasty things about you and like you said, don't look at Twitter for a while.

But you know, they're going to -- people are going to want to change you and it's not going to be easy. But you know, if the truth is on your side, you have that going for you and it's -- if you want to make change, change is never easy. You know, change is tough, but if you want to be on the right side of history and you want to make change, you know, you're going to have to -- have to do some walking and believe in that and do it, you know.

TAPPER: Well, you're making change. Leeann Tweeden, thank you so much. We're honored that you told your story to us.

TWEEDEN: Thank you, Jake.

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