Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
More than 30 women who worked with Sen. Al Franken on “Saturday Night Live,” defended the embattled lawmaker in an open later Tuesday, writing that while working with him “not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior.”
The women, including former SNL cast members Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman, writers and producers, wrote that they felt “compelled to stand up for Al Franken” in the wake of allegations that he forced himself on Los Angeles news anchor Leeann Tweeden in 2006.
Franken apologized after Tweeden made her allegations public last week in a blog post for KABC.
“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 letter said.
“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.”
Franken worked on “Saturday Night Live” as a writer and a featured player from 1977 to 1980 and from 1988 to 1995.
Tweeden said last week that she was forcibly kissed by Franken, who was a radio host for Air America at the time, and groped in her sleep during a USO tour in 2006. She shared an image of herself sleeping as Franken’s hands hovered over her chest as evidence of the incident.
Franken apologized and called for an ethics investigation into the incident.
"I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter," Franken said in a statement released Thursday. "There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't funny. It's completely inappropriate. It's obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture."
A second woman came forward Monday, accusing Franken of groping her as they posed for a photo at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.
Lindsay Menz told CNN that Franken, “pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, (Franken) put his hand full-fledged on my rear.”
In a statement to CNN, Franken said he didn’t remember taking the photo but that he felt “badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., pauses during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)