Senator Al Franken has been cut from a PBS broadcast of a Kennedy Center tribute to David Letterman after the Minnesota lawmaker was accused of forcibly kissing and groping a woman during a 2006 U.S.O. tour.
The pretaped special, David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize, will air Monday night. Franken, a fellow comedian, was to be one of many participants celebrating Letterman and his contributions to comedy but has been edited out of the program.
“PBS will air an updated David Letterman: The Mark Twain Prize on Monday,” a spokesperson said Sunday in a statement to EW. “Senator Al Franken participated in the event, but will not appear substantially in the PBS program …. 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.”
The special was filmed Oct. 23 in Washington, D.C., and includes appearances from Steve Martin, Martin Short, Jimmy Kimmel, Amy Schumer, and more.
On Nov. 16, Leeann Tweeden, a former model and radio news anchor in Los Angeles, alleged that Franken kissed her without consent during a rehearsal while on a U.S.O. tour of the Middle East in 2006, before he took public office. She also released a photo of Franken appearing to grope her while she was asleep. Franken has since apologized and voiced support for a Senate ethics investigation into his actions.
Letterman is the 20th recipient of the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, joining the ranks of honorees like Jay Leno, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Carol Burnett, Ellen DeGeneres, and Will Ferrell.
TVLine first reported the news about Franken being cut.