Among the recent — and most high profile — men brought down by the #MeToo movement was Al Franken, the popular liberal Democrat and former comedian from Minnesota.
Of the various resignations to send shockwaves across the country, it was Franken’s that appeared to carry the most handwringing. The announcement came after a series of allegations of forced kissing and groping and some of the loudest calls to step down came from within the Democratic ranks. ”I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand posted on Facebook. On top of that, the national conversation surrounding sexual misconduct — and political backdrop of allegations against a GOP Senate candidate and President Trump — made the prospect of him staying in office untenable to many. But some Franken supporters found the allegations impossible to reconcile with the senator’s reputation as a steadfast supporter for women’s rights. Others saw the mounting calls to resign immediately — before an internal ethics panel could complete its review— as a dangerous skirting of due process. Still, Franken, who has largely denied the allegations, bowed to pressure to step down immediately, while other elected officials who have been accused of — and in some cases, admitted to — misconduct have not.
The reckoning was especially difficult for some in his home state of Minnesota, which Franken had represented since winning a razor-thin election in 2008: A recent poll from a left-leaning outlet found that half of Minnesota voters didn’t want him to resign. What’s more, 57% of women respondents said they approved of his job performance.
As Franken made his resignation official this week, Refinery29 spoke to female constituents who expressed a range of reactions. Read on to hear their views.
All interviews have been lightly edited for length and clarity.