Thirty-six women who worked with Al Franken on Saturday Night Live both chastised and expressed solidarity with the former comedian and current Minnesota senator after he was accused of groping radio/TV host, Leeann Tweeden.
The letter featured the signatures of writers and members of the production staff, including longtime producer Marci Klein alongside Jane Curtin and Loraine Newman, the two surviving women from SNL‘s original Not Ready for Prime Time Players cast. They did not excuse Franken’s behavior, calling his actions “stupid and foolish,” but nevertheless said they felt “compelled to stand up for” their former co-worker.
The letter continued: “We think it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden, and to the public. In our experience we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer and an honorable public servant. That is why we are moved to quickly and directly affirm that after years of working with him, we would like to acknowledge that not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior; and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard.”
Tweeden, a news anchor with KABC in Los Angeles, accused Franken of “forcibly” kissing and groping her during a USO Tour in December 2016. Franken apologized to Tweeden after she published an article detailing her experience. The Senator has also agreed to participate in an official ethics review.
The letter from the women of Saturday Night Live did not, however, mention the accusations of a second woman, Lindsay Menz, who claimed Franken grabbed her butt while they posed for a photograph together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Franken said he did not remember their encounter, but added, “I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”