In an act unprecedented in the current socio-political climate 36 women have signed a statement supporting Al Franken, recently accused of sexual misconduct. The women who all worked with Franken on Saturday Night Live expressed that not only did none of them ever experience any inappropriate behavior, but each of them noted that they were always treated with utmost respect by the former SNL castmembers, staff and producers. Among those listed were Jane Curtain and Laraine Newman, producer Marci Klein, and a list of production assistants, writers, script PAs, supervisors, producers, photographers, talent coordinators, assistants and wardrobe personnel.
The statement begins acknowledging that the behavior that put Franken in the news was inappropriate. “What Al did was stupid and foolish,” the statement reads, “and we think it was appropriate for him to apologize to Ms. Tweeden, and to the public.” But, the statement goes on to say that the undersigned know Franken as an honorable public servant, and that none of the women on the statement ever experienced inappropriate behavior. Franken has been accused by two women of groping or touching without consent including one incident of a woman being kissed and groped in 2006, and another woman who has accused the Senator of touching her behind while posing for a photo.
It’s only been about two months since Harvey Weinstein allegations led a cavalcade of women coming forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against men they have worked with. In the time since the Weinstein conduct first came to national attention on October 5, the search for others who are guilty of similar behavior has amped up – resulting in major changes in the careers of many of the accused including Weinstein, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Kevin Spacey, James Toback, Terry Richardson, Andy Dick, Brett Ratner, Al Franken of course, and most recently Charlie Rose, among others whose names are less familiar to the public.
But during that two months, almost nobody has defended any of the accused in character or behavior, and in the few instances where anyone did speak out in support of the men accused there was immediate blowback, generally followed by the supporter rescinding their support. Just last week, Lena Dunham walked back her support of a writer on the tv show Girls, and apologized for defending him.