Amid the growing controversy surrounding Minnesota Senator Al Franken, PBS is taking steps to remove him from an upcoming broadcast.
On Monday, the network will air its “David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize” special, but will do so having cut Franken’s appearances, despite the fact that he was a featured player in the show prior to the bombshell allegations from a Los Angeles radio anchor who claims the Senator forcibly kissed her during a 2006 USO tour.
“PBS will air an updated ‘David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize’ on Monday. Senator Al Franken participated in the event, but will not appear substantially in the PBS program airing nationally Monday evening,” PBS said in a statement. “PBS and WETA, the producing station, felt that the inclusion of Senator Franken in the broadcast at this time would distract from the show’s purpose as a celebration of American humor. Every year, this program is edited for both length and content to keep it entertaining and focused on its intended purpose as a celebration of American humor.”
As TV Line, which previously reported the news, notes, Franken will still appear at the end of the show, when all the celebrities involved gather on stage with Letterman. However, it seems any other plans, bits or scenes with Franken have been removed.
As previously reported, model Leeann Tweeden came forward last week, prompting Franken to immediately apologize for his actions. However, a representative for Franken announced today that he’s not planning to step down. Franken filmed his portion of the “Mark Twain Prize” special on Oct. 23, prior to the allegations against him going public.
Franken is just the latest in a slew of men in the public eye that have had allegations of sexual harassment and assault lobbed at them following the unprecedented conversation sparked by the bombshell allegations against Harvey Weinstein last month.