Al Franken apologizes for Intersex Joke

Al Franken has apologized for the offensive joke made o­n the June 2, 2004 show.

"On Wednesday?s ?Fighting Hannity?s Lies with Lies About Hannity? segment, I falsely claimed that Sean Hannity was born a hermaphroditic conjoined twin, and that the doctor who delivered him and his twin reacted in horror at their birth. I would like to apologize to members of the intersexed and conjoined-twin communities for furthering the unjustified stigma attached to these conditions. An estimated o­ne in 2000 people are born with atypical genitalia, which, like conjoinment, is a naturally-occurring bodily variation. I am sorry for the ill-considered joke."
-Al Franken

"The last thing the O?Franken Factor wants to do is
further destructive stigmas or alienate intersexed or conjoined people; I
hope that this will help repair the rift that opened after the original
joke." said producer Ben Wikler

Call to Action: React to stigmatizing comments o­n Air America's O'Franken Factor

-Betsy Driver

Friends, below is a transcript from Al Franken's show, "The O'Franken Factor" o­n Air America that aired Wednesday June 2, 2004. The exchange between Mr. Franken and co-host Katherine Lanpher characterizes intersex as freakish and refers to people with intersex conditions as "he-she". Additionally his comments are insulting to conjoined twins.

We hope you will be as outraged as we are by these stigmatizing comments to write them and complain. Their email address is
Their postal address is:

Air America Radio
3 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016

Several posters at the Bodies Like Ours forums already submitted complaints about this skit Franken and Lanpher aired for fun at the expense of intersex people and conjoined twins. Please take a moment to let Air America and Al Franken know that his comments were inappropriate.

Thanks to Emi Koyama of Intersex Initiative for sharing this transcript with us.


The O'Franken FactorAired about 12:10pm o­n June 2, 2004Air America Radio

<START of transcript session>

Host Al Franken: We caught [FOX News and talk radio host Sean] Hannity in another lie. The guy just will not stop...


 We continuously debunk Hannity's lies but it doesn't make any difference. He keeps o­n repeating lies we debunk and then he tells other lies that he knows are lies. And he forces us to resort to the o­nly weapon... welcome to today's edition of Fighting Hannity's Lies With Lies About Hannity.


AF: Okay, today's lies about Hannity. Remember this isn't true. That's important--this is a lie. Not true.

AF: Hannity was born a hermaphrodite.

Co-host Katherine Lanpher: What?

AF: It's not true. Not just a hermaphrodite, but a conjoined twin who is also hermaphrodite. They were conjoined at both sets of genitals. Remember this isn't true, it's a lie. The doctor in delivery room said he'd never seen a more hideously freakish creature in his life, Sean and Shawn, S-H-A-W-N.

They were separated at age 14 by drunk carnival barker using a [inaudible] stolen from bearded lady, who was Sean's mother and father. Remember, none of this is even remotely true, it's a lie. Anyway, Sean nearly bled to death but survived and now has a quarter of a vagina and three-quarters of a penis. Remember this isn't true.

But in a sense it is far less [inaudible] lie than the lies this three-quarter man tells everyday. And we here at The O'Franken Factor, we feel that it's our duty to keep lying about Hannity as long as he insists o­n lying to America. That was today's Fighting Hannity's Lies With Lies About Hannity.

KL: Al? What happened to Shawn, S-H-A-W-N, Shawn?

AF: Katherine, it's a lie, there were no twins. But your asking demonstrates how insidious these lies could be. He-she bled to death.

KL: Oh, that's terrible.

AF: But Sean didn't seem to care, he's never even mentioned her o­n the show as his sister.

KL: That's terrible.

Betsy DriverExecutive Director
Bodies Like Ours
PO Box 1732
Easton, PA 18044

610-258-7466 voice
610-258-6631 fax

Bodies Like Ours is a 501(c)(3)organization incorporated in NJ and based in Easton, PA. Bodies Like Ours provides peer support for people born with an intersex condition and helps them erase their shame and secrecy. We are dependent upon your financial support to continue our work. Please consider making a donation today o­nline by visiting our website at