Hollywood Sexual Assault Allegations Spark Surfacing Allegations in Government


Senator Al Franken speaking at the Hart Building, Washington DC. Photo by Lorie Shaull. (Used with Creative Commons)

By Sophie Carite

Update: 2:43 p.m. During Senator Franken’s press conference today he announced he would be resigning from office in the following weeks. 

Update: Al Franken is expected to give a press conference today, Dec. 7, after calls for his resignation from both parties. This comes after, House Representative, John Conyers retired after many accusations were released against him.

Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Louis C.K. Donald Trump. Al Franken. Roy Moore. Half of these people play major roles in Hollywood, the other half are members of the American government. What both groups have in common is that each person has been accused of some form of sexual misconduct.

In late 2017, a group of women came forward accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, harassment and rape. These accusations sparked the start of many people in the entertainment industry coming forward with their own stories against numerous directors, producers, comedians and actors. According to the New York Times and statements given by the victims, these reported incidents go back decades and continue to occur today. After many years of flying under the radar, the accused are starting to face the consequences. Comedian Louis C.K. released an apology letter after five women accused him of exposing himself to them.

“I have been remorseful of my actions, and I’ve tried to learn from them, and run from them,” C.K. said in a statement. “Now I’m aware of the extent of the impact of my actions.”

According to the letter, written by C.K, he is choosing to step back from his work as a comedian and the work he did on different shows and movies. However others that were accused did not have a choice in stepping down. After Actor Kevin Spacey was accused of attempting to assault a 14-year-old boy, Anthony Rapp of RENT fame, Spacey was fired from his leading role in House Of Cards and it was reported by US Weekly that Spacey was replaced by Christopher Plummer in an upcoming movie, All the Money in the World.

This movement of victims bringing their pasts to light eventually spread out of just Hollywood and worked it’s way into the government. Senator Al Franken is accused of groping four unconscious women. Senate candidate Roy Moore is accused of having sexual relations with underaged girls. President Trump has been overheard on an Access Hollywood recording bragging about groping women against their will.

Though unlike the men in Hollywood, members of the government have had little to no repercussions. Some have been publicly asked to step down, mostly from the opposite party, but none have been forced from a position or forced to acknowledge their wrongdoing in an apology to those that were assaulted. However, Senator Franken did release a statement saying, “Let me say again, to Minnesotans, that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”

“I just don’t understand why people who are actors are being punished more strongly than people who are supposed to be running the government,” sophomore Alayna Furch said. “I mean, I expect more out of people that are meant to be in charge.”

According to the New York Times, since Weinstein, at least 34 men in the entertainment industry have been accused of sexual misconduct ranging from unwanted photos to rape. The Morning Call reported that at least 10 people currently serving in the federal government have recently been accused of sexual assault.

“I hope that all this makes regular people feel okay about coming forward,” Furch said. “I hope that everyone gets what’s coming to them.”