Making light of an incident in which a woman claimed to have been groped and humiliated by former Democratic Sen. Al Franken, the host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” recreated the degrading scene recently.
Radio host Leeann Tweeden released an image last year in which the former politician can be seen leaning over her as she slept on a plane, his hands placed strategically over her breasts. The picture does not clearly show Franken making physical contact with Tweeden’s body, but the picture, along with her allegations of other misconduct and the allegations of groping that came from several other women, were enough to turn Franken’s party against him. After a number of Democrats called for his resignation, Franken conceded defeat and left his seat.
Tweeden reported that the photo had been embarrassing to her, and was something that had haunted her for years.
Enter Bill Maher, who decided to recreate the photo using comedian/actor Bob Saget as his “victim.” As the New York Daily News reported, “in almost the same exact manner Franken was photographed placing his hands over Leeann Tweeden’s breasts,” Maher leans over Saget as he is asleep on a plane and grins as he holds his hands out over Saget’s chest.
Maher uploaded the picture on Twitter, writing: “These New Years Hawaii trips are getting weird — Saget, forgive me!”
Although some fans found the images humorous, others were outraged and felt it was disrespectful to Tweeden in particular, and victims of sexual harassment as a whole.
New York Daily News reports:
“Jokes about sexual misconduct are: easy, not funny, offensive,” one user responded.
Another replied: “That’s not even funny. Get a new job.”
Another commenter addressed the fact that Franken officially resigned just days earlier on Jan. 2.
“Starting off the new year in an especially offensive and insensitive way, aren’t we Bill?” the user wrote. “Al just left a couple days ago.”
The two photos, as well as examples of reactions to Maher’s photo from Twitter, may be seen below. (Warning: Photos may be offensive to some.)
These New Years Hawaii trips are getting weird – Saget, forgive me! pic.twitter.com/UgehBTmIUv
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) January 4, 2018
I cannot believe Al Franken had to resign over a joke? People cannot even take a joke these days? His apology was heartfelt, enough for him to resign why cannot people learn to forgive and to forget? But the president on the other hand gets to be president? Why?
— Michael Filler (@skyview3129) January 4, 2018
Hilarious while making an excellent point
— jfree (@fjennifern) January 4, 2018
— RodRiehl (@getriehlman) January 4, 2018
Thanks for the laugh! Really funny!
— Ellen Livingston (@ellen_cubgirl1) January 4, 2018
I loved it…bill is awesome…
— Achila Sena (@asenerchia) January 4, 2018
@bobsaget Thank you for making a joke that most people are going to take offense to.
— Liz Cooper (@pinkshoesliz) January 4, 2018
It’s not funny
— OBAMACAT🐱🌎☮ (@lunabear1975) January 4, 2018
Jokes about sexual misconduct are: easy, not funny, offensive.
— John V. Lombardo (@JohnVLombardo) January 4, 2018
Bill, we’re gonna need you to resign. It’s an empty gesture and already forgetten, but it proves we’re better than the republicans.
— W.D. Steeves (@wdsteeves) January 4, 2018
— Jason Beahm (@jasonbeahm) January 4, 2018
Im not offended… but it’s not funny either. If Trump joked like that you would crucify him for it. True?
— chadochoblohole (@chadochoblohole) January 4, 2018
— Rezlokal (@Rezlokal85) January 4, 2018
Position: Sleeping people cannot consent, sexual assault is never a joke.
Attempted defense: Sometimed it is a joke, regardless of what the sleeping person says.
They had to pick one.
— JacobBe5 (@JakeBe5) January 4, 2018