Transcript for Radio anchor speaks out on accusing Al Franken of sexual misconduct
All right, Mary, thank you. Leeann tweeden, the news anchor at KABC news radio is here. Thank you. Good to see you. Good morning. How are you doing this morning? I know you weren't expecting this kind of reaction? You know, I'm tired. I was up since 2:00 A.M. California time yesterday and it was just -- it was overwhelming. You know, it was kind of a media frenzy that I think I wasn't ready for and expecting. I mean I think I knew there would be some media attention. I just wasn't prepared for everything that was happening yesterday and then I got on a plane and, you know, here I am. Literally off the plane and from the airport straight here, so -- Again, we appreciate it very much. Of course, this happened in 2006 but you had a reason why. Yeah. You wanted to share your story now. Yeah, you know, I originally -- I did want to share it when I came back then and, you know, it was a different time and my then boyfriend now husband and the father of my two kids said, they're going to annihilate you. They're going to find every skeleton in your closet. You were a model. Your career at the time, I was doing "The best damn sports show" with Michael Strahan on Fox Sports and you're going -- your career will be ruined. Don't do it now. Like, you know, it's not worth the effort, you know, you're going to be victimized. Not -- nothing is going to happen to him so I stayed quiet but I was angry and with the whole Harvey Weinstein stuff coming out, you know, and all these other women coming out and talking and every day we'd hear stories and, you know, I'm the news anchor on a radio show in Los Angeles and we were talking to these women, congresswoman Jackie Speier came on the show and told her story when she was a congressional aide in her 20s and said her chief of staff trapped her in an office and took her head in his hands and kissed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth and at that moment, you know, I just said, that happened to me. That was Al Franken and that happened to me and I said that was my sign. I think if I don't speak up now I'm going to forever hold that and keep it with me forever. That was my moment to speak up and I have two little kids and I said this is my time to, you know, worse has happened to other people. But maybe I have a platform to speak out because if he did this to somebody else or if anybody else has stayed silent or anybody else has been the victim of any kind of abuse, maybe they can speak out and feel like they this come forward in reel realtime and not wait a kick cade or longer. That was your motivation. Not to destroy him. Not at all. You have to shine a light, somebody -- you know, these people need to be called out. A light needs to be shone to expose what's happening. To do a change, to change the culture. When that awful, awful photograph, you on the plane, not even knowing this picture was taken, you didn't know it until later when the pictures were released and you saw it, and you said, not for one moment did you think it was a joke that went awry. That you felt that he was trying to send you a message. What did you mean by that? Because of everything that had happened before, you know, I released a statement because everything that happened in totality with the forced kiss, when he stuck his tongue in my mouth and then that tour, I had to endure being with him for almost two weeks, you know, and there were little jab, there were comments, I mean, I separated myself as much as I could from that tour from him. I was never alone with him again. But, you know, we'd be doing autograph sessions and I'd have to sit next to him because we were the co-emcees and I would literally sit with my back towards him and sigh a picture of mine be pulled away out of the corner of my eye and he would draw devil horns on me and the devil tail and push it back into my pile. So, you know, these were the petty things I was dealing with so there were little things here and there so most people are just hearing about the forced kiss and then the picture at the end but it was -- you know, it was the humiliation through the two weeks of the tour that people don't hear about. So at the end when I got that picture, it was like the final parting shot of, ha, ha, she's going to see this when she gets home that I couldn't, you know, see him face-to-face to confront him. It was like, she's going to see that and sort of that was like his parting shot of the, you know, kind of in your face I got you one last time. That's how I felt bit. I was belittled and humiliated. Yeah, and he even acknowledged he an -- now he can understand why but at the time he didn't. That's never funny. No, it's never funny. Never funny. He didn't apologize until you went public. You had seen him since that time. Of course, with my husband and I was very cold to him then and he had a chance to apologize and never did. But you accept his apology now. Yeah, of -- the first apology sounded like a staffer that was very quick yesterday morning when I first talked about it. And I was like, yeah, okay, two-sentence apology. I accepted that as well because you know you sort of -- you know, politicians really have to get ahead of the game, right, oh, I apologize, that was inappropriate. That wasn't me. All right. The second apology I think when things started happening in the media and people were talking about it and the second one was definitely heart felt and I do accept it. I think he realized how people felt about it. Now it's a different time, 2006 is not 2017. Not at all with all that's going on but you feel even -- he said he's going to agree and cooperate with the ethics investigation. But and some people are saying should he serve? Should he still be a senator? Where do you fall on that. You know, that's not my call. I didn't do this to have him step down. I think Al Franken does a lot of good things in the senate. You know, I think that's for the people of Minnesota to decide. I'm not calling for him to step down. You know, that's -- that was never my intention and I think -- I think for people to just know -- I just wanted him to understand what he did was wrong and how he treated me and how -- how abusers who I think do that under the guise that it's funny or that, oh, I can get away with it because I was a comedian and it's funny, that's never funny but when you shine a light and that's the culture, that's the change we need to make and go, that's never funny but people have gotten away with that snoefr that's the change we were hoping with all these discussions and final question, I can't forget yesterday when you concluded your interview and you said all you wanted to do was go home and hug your little girl and your little boy and be with your husband and you were able to do that. They're too young, only 4 and 2. What do you want them to be able to understand when they're older about this? You know, my husband yesterday is so great. And, you know, I did a lot of interviews yesterday just with the media and my husband first of all who I love very much, Chris, I love you, he said, I'm so proud to be your husband and he goes, I want to save some of those videos and I want to show the kids when they grow up their mom because I want them to know what you did today because it's important and I think you're a part of a change in a culture that's going to make a difference for their generation and he said and I love you for that. We so appreciate that, Leeann. All the best to you. I know you want to get back to your family. Thank you for being here. George.
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