Franken — who was an SNL writer and cast member in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s — was accused earlier this month of forcibly kissing Leeann Tweeden during a USO tour in 2006. She also released a photo that appeared to show Franken groping her while she was asleep.
But in a letter tweeted by NBC News on Tuesday, female staffers who worked with Franken at SNL acknowledge that his behavior, though “stupid and foolish,” does not accurately represent Franken’s character.
“In our experience, we know Al as a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant,” the letter reads. “That is why we are moved to quickly and directly affirm 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.”
Hollywood has had a mixed response to Franken’s harassment scandal. On the Nov. 18 episode of SNL, Weekend Update co-anchor Colin Jost slammed the photo in which the senator apparently gropes Tweeden: “Now, I know this photo looks bad, but remember, it also is bad. And sure, this was taken before Franken ran for public office, but it was also taken after he was a sophomore in high school. It’s pretty hard to be, like, ‘Come on, he didn’t know better. He was only 55.’”
But Real Time host Bill Maher defended Franken on the Nov. 17 installment of his show, saying that Franken does not deserve to be lumped in with other men recently accused of sexual assault, including Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Your thoughts on the letter from SNL‘s female staffers? Drop ’em in a comment.