GOP Targets Al Franken's Playboy Column

Funnyman turned wannabe Minn. senator lands in hot water for "Porn-o-Rama!"

ByABC News
May 23, 2008, 4:24 PM

May 23, 2008 — -- Al Franken is a funny man, but Minnesota voters might not see the humor in a column that the former Saturday Night Live star and current candidate for the United States Senate wrote in Playboy magazine in 2000.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Republican Party released a letter, signed by six prominent GOP women, including a state senator and state representative, calling on Franken to apologize for his "demeaning and degrading" article.

"The words and descriptions you write about are beyond vulgar," read the letter, circulated by the Minnesota Republican Party and posted on its Web site. "They demean and degrade women as thoroughly and disrespectfully as any article we have ever seen, and we are horrified to believe that someone running for the U.S. Senate could have written them. This column shows flagrant disregard for women, and an extreme objectification of women as sex objects for your pleasure."

Eight years ago, Franken penned a column for Playboy called "Porn-O-Rama!" in which the former Saturday Night Live comedian wrote about visiting a made-up sex institute where he takes part in sexual acts with humans and machines.

"While you may attempt to defend your writing as satire, we hardly find anything defensible about your finding humor in your desire to have sex with women or robots that look like women simply to give yourself a good time," the Minnesota GOP women wrote in the letter. "This column is at its worst, an extreme example of the kind of disrespect for the role of women in society that all of us have fought our entire lives. At best, it is the disrespectful writings of a nearly 50-year-old man who seems to think that women's bodies are the domain of a man who just wants to have a good time."

"Denounce this article and apologize immediately," read the letter.

Franken is the clear front-runner for the nomination of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) in Minnesota. If he wins, he will then take on incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.