Al Franken has chosen a conference in Europe for his first public appearance since the former U.S. senator from Minnesota was forced to resign amid sexual harassment allegations.
Franken is a keynote speaker for the 2018 Privacy Xchange Forum scheduled for May 1 in Lisbon, Portugal, more than 4,000 miles from the Twin Cities. The conference brings together some of the leading experts on cybersecurity in the world.
Adam Levin, founder of CyberScout, the Arizona-based identity protection company putting on the forum, said in a statement his organization is "both excited and privileged" to have Franken speak.
"We face global threats and challenges we've never seen before," Levin said in a statement. "The issues of privacy, cyber security, and election security require strong leadership. Al Franken has been a longtime firebrand on these issues before and since his resignation from the U.S. Senate."
Franken is quoted in the announcement as saying, "Recent scandals like the Cambridge Analytica breach and the Russian interference in our 2016 election were shocking — but not surprising if you've been paying attention to tech companies' failure to protect users, and the U.S. government's failure to hold them accountable."
CyberScout did not disclose how much it is paying Franken to speak. The onetime television comedian and movie actor and author of politically oriented books was charging anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 as recently as 2014, when he was on the roster of All American Speakers, a booking agency.
Franken left office in early January after a number of women said he inappropriately touched them sexually.
In what has become known as the #MeToo movement, Franken's name joined a roster of famous men in politics and popular culture whose alleged misbehavior cost them their government positions or sent their entertainment careers crashing.
"I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice," he said on the Senate floor on Dec. 7, weeks before his resignation took effect.