A group of Saturday Night Live performers and crew, all women, have signed a statement of support for U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who was accused last week of sexual harassment.
Broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused the Democratic senator of forcibly kissing her during a USO tour in 2006, and Lindsay Menz says he placed his hand on her buttocks while posing for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
This past Thursday, Franken posted an apology to his Facebook page.
“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann,” Franken said in a statement. “As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
“While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences,” he continued. “Coming from the world of comedy, I’ve told and written a lot of jokes that I once thought were funny but later came to realize were just plain offensive.”
WATCH BELOW: Al Franken apologizes after being accused of sexual harassment
Now, 36 women — including actor Jane Curtin (3rd Rock From the Sun) and Cristina McGinniss, Lorne Michaels’ assistant for 25 years — have signed Friday’s statement in support of Franken. Only two of the signees are current SNL crew members.
The entire text of the statement is below:
“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 (SNL).
What Al did was stupid and foolish, and 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.
We send our support and gratitude to Al and his family this Thanksgiving and holiday season.
1. Jill Baylor, Production Assistant,1991-92
2. Shannon Gaughan Bowman, Writer, 1988-89
3. Beth Einhorn, Script PA,1987-1988
4. Cindy Caponera, Writer, 1995-98
5. Jane Curtin, Not Ready for Prime Time Player, original cast, 1975-80
6. Tracy Cooper Drippe, Script PA/ Script Supervisor,1986-1991
7. Suzy Drasnin, Production Staff/Photographer,1986-90
8. Juli Pari Frankel, Script PA, 1984-1985
9. Julia Fraser, Script Supervisor, 1978-1985
10. Tara Gardner, Writers Assistant, 1990-95
11. Iris March Gross, Broadway Video/SNL 1977-1985
12. Marcy Hardart, Assistant to Lorne Michaels, 1987-1990
13. Lori Jo Hoekstra, Writer’s Assistant/Weekend Update Producer, 1990-1998
14. Sheila Kehoe, Costume Dept, 1976-82
15. Marci Klein, Co-Producer, 1989-2014
16. Franne Lee, Costume Designer, 1975-80
17. Laila Nabulsi, Schiller’s Reel 1975-79; Associate Producer, 1985-1986
18. Laraine Newman, Not Ready for Prime Time Player, original cast, 1975-80
19. Mary Ellen Mathews, Show Photographer, 1993- present
20. Cristina McGinniss, Assistant to Lorne Michaels (25 years);Broadway Video, 1979 – present
21. Marilyn Suzanne Miller, Writer, 1975 -1994 (intermittently)
22. Dinah Minot, Associate Producer, 1985-1989; Co-Producer, Broadway Pictures,1989-96
23. Evie Murray, Assistant to Lorne Michaels & consultant, 1983-1994
24. Sarah Paley, Writer, 1979-80 (& The New Show 1981-82)
25. Sandra Restrepo Considine, Script Supervisor/PA – 1987-1993
26. Suzanne Rosenberg, Coordinating Producer/Weekend Update, 1983-2003
27. Suzanne Ross, Script PA, 1991-1993
28. Karen Roston, Costume Designer, 1975-1983
29. Mary Salter, Film Producer, 1977-1987
30. Claire Shirey, Script Coordinator, 1982-present
31. Rosie Shuster, Writer, 1975-1980; 1984-88
32. Kiki Kazanas Steele, Script PA/Script Supervisor, 1985-1990
33. Pam Thomas, Consultant, 1980s
34. Bonnie Turner, Writer, 1986-1993
35. Christine Zander, Writer, 1987-1993
36. Liz Welch, Talent Coordinator, 1981-89″
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the Franken allegations “troubling” and said he hopes and expects that the Senate Ethics Committee will investigate.
“Sexual harassment is never acceptable and must not be tolerated,” Schumer said.
Franken’s fellow Minnesota Democrat, Amy Klobuchar, said, “This should not have happened to Leeann Tweeden. I strongly condemn this behaviour, and the Senate Ethics Committee must open an investigation.”
Over the weekend, Girls creator and star Lena Dunham received vicious backlash online for throwing her support behind one of her former writers, Murray Miller, who’s been accused of sexual assault.
“We believe, having worked closely with for more than half a decade, that this is the case with Murray Miller. While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the three per cent of assault cases that are misreported every year,” Dunham initially said.
After being criticized by users for her defence of Miller, Dunham apologized on Saturday. “I naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation as it has transpired behind-the-scenes over the last few months. I now understand that it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement and I am so sorry,” she wrote.
Twitter users were quick to call out the SNL women’s statement of support, saying it flies in the face of actually “believing” women’s stories.
Franken and the current production team of SNL have not yet commented on the statement. Franken has not been charged with any crime.
— With files from The Associated PressFollow @CJancelewicz
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