Female ‘SNL’ staffers show support for Franken
A group of female staffers at “Saturday Night Live” have come out in support of former cast member Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is facing sexual misconduct allegations from two women.
In a letter released by NBC on Tuesday, female cast and crew who worked with Franken at the long-running NBC sketch comedy show write that they support Franken after his apology to radio host Leeann Tweeden, who accused Franken of groping her on a military plane during a USO tour in 2006.
“What Al did was stupid and foolish, and we think it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden, and to the public,” it reads. “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,” the letter continues, “and mention our sincere appreciation that he treated each of us with the utmost respect and regard.”
The letter goes on to state that Franken never engaged in inappropriate behavior during his time at SNL. Franken worked at the show as both a writer and cast member over two separate periods between 1975 and 1995.
The list of signatures, obtained by freelance journalist Yashar Ali, includes mostly behind-the-scenes staff at the show but also includes two original cast members, Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman. Other signatures include writers, producers, and assistants from both of Franken’s periods at the show.
36 women who worked with Al Franken on SNL have signed a letter of support…I would not be surprised if this has a chilling effect on women speaking out. It was shameful when Fox News hosts did this for Roger Ailes and this letter, at this time, is highly inappropriate. pic.twitter.com/qhuD6MDtpS
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) November 21, 2017
Progressive groups turned on Franken Monday after a second woman accused the senator of groping her during a photo-op at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.
Franken told CNN in a statement he didn’t recall this photo and he felt “badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
The apology wasn’t enough for progressive advocacy groups, two of which called Monday for Franken to resign.
“Sen. Al Franken had the chance last week to take full responsibility for past sexual harassment, sexual assault and any other behavior that demeaned women. He failed to do so,” Credo said in a statement. “We believe that Sen. Franken should immediately resign from the U.S. Senate and that Gov. Mark Dayton should appoint a progressive woman to replace him.”
Sally Kohn, a progressive contributor to CNN, on Monday also called for Franken to leave the Senate.
“Time for Al Franken to go,” Kohn wrote on Twitter after CNN reported on new allegations against him.
– This report was updated at 9:55 a.m. EST