On Tuesday, former female staffers of the NBC sketch comedy show issued a statement in solidarity of the comedian-turned-senator, who faced sexual misconduct accusations by KABC radio anchor Leeann Tweeden last week. Tweeden claimed Franken groped her and kissed her without consent during a USO tour to entertain troops in Dec. 2006, releasing a photo of Franken appearing to be grabbing her breasts while she was sleeping. Franken, 66, has since apologized, and Tweeden accepted it.
“We feel compelled to stand up for Al Franken, whom we have all had the pleasure of working with over the years on Saturday Night Live,” reads the statement, which, according to a copy obtained by Vulture, was signed by 36 former SNL production assistants, writers, and other female staffers, including Jane Curtain and Laraine Newman.
“What Al did was stupid and foolish, and we think it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden, and to the public,” the statement continues. “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 afters 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. We send our support and gratitude to Al and his family this Thanksgiving and holiday season.”
The statement stands in contrast to the most recent episode of SNL, which took aim at Franken.
“Now, I know this photo looks bad, but remember — it also is bad,” Colin Jost quipped during Weekend Update.
“Sure, this was taken before Franken ran for public office, but it was also taken after he was a sophomore in high school,” he continued. “It’s pretty hard to be like, ‘Oh, come on, he didn’t know anything — he was only 55.’ ”
“Didn’t the troops in Afghanistan have it hard enough without having to sit through sketch comedy?” said Michael Che. “I mean, people can barely even stay up to watch sketches after Weekend Update.”