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‘SNL’ Women Past and Present Defend Al Franken in Sexual Harassment Statement

Al Franken Sexual Harassment SNL Women Statement
NBC

The ongoing cycle of sexual harassment exposure has repeatedly put SNL in an awkward position; one the show seems reticent to address. In light of accusations against writer-turned-senator Al Franken, however, thirty-six female cast and crew have now spoken out to defend Franken’s name.

It was only last week that broadcaster Leeann Tweeden named now-Minnesota Senator Franken among the growing list of Hollywood offenders, as Franken was photographed groping her in her sleep, and allegedly rewrote a USO tour sketch to force a kiss between them. Franken quickly moved to apologize, something Tweeden even seemed to accept, though the situation may now be exacerbated by the new statement from three dozen SNL players. It should be noted that only former cast members Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman signed the statement, which calls Franken “a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant.”

We’ve printed the full list of names alongside the statement, for context (h/t Boston Globe):

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.

SIGNED BY

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

It’s tiring to reiterate that victims of harassment and abuse need attention and support far more than Franken, or any other offender’s reputation, but it’s also past-time SNL recognized its own hand in providing a platform to abusers. The program briefly poked fun at Franken with Saturday’s “Weekend Update,” but hasn’t fully grappled with a parade of now-toxic names in its recent history; from Donald Trump (and Alec Baldwin) to Louis C.K.

A complicated issue for those personally close to Franken, yes, but did SNL err in rushing to the senator’s defense while new accusations emerge? What should we make of current cast’s absence from the letter? Watch the “Weekend Update” segment below.

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