Three dozen women who worked with Al Franken on Saturday Night Live – in roles from cast members, to producers, to assistants – say the now-senator never acted inappropriately with them.
The statement of "solidarity" was sent to media members late Monday by Dinah Minot, an associate producer with SNL from 1985-1989. (It's embedded at the bottom of this post if you want to see the whole thing.)
The women say Franken's treatment of Leeann Tweeden, the radio host who says he forcibly kissed and groped her during a USO tour, was "stupid and foolish."
But the SNL women felt "compelled" to publicly talk about their own experiences with him, saying they only know Franken to be "a devoted and dedicated family man, a wonderful comedic performer, and an honorable public servant."
None of the women "ever experienced any inappropriate behavior" from Franken, the letter continues.
And it notes "sincere appreciation" that he treated them with "the utmost respect and regard."
The cast members on the letter come from all eras of the show, including the inaugural 1975 season (which Franken was a writer for), covers much of the '80s, and includes a handful of SNL workers who were there into the 2000s.
Where the allegations stand right now
The letter does not mention the story told by Lindsay Menz Monday, who says Franken grabbed her butt while taking a photo with her at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair. Minot said the signatures all came in before that encounter was publicized.
Franken has apologized to Tweeden publicly, and said in a statement he feels "badly" about how he might have made Menz feel, though doesn't remember taking the photo.
Tweeden has said she accepts Franken's apology, and noted she's not calling on him to resign.
Franken through a spokesperson told MPR he won't resign, but is reflecting on everything right now. He's up for re-election in 2020.
The senator has called for an ethics investigation into himself, a request that's been echoed by many of his colleagues.
A group of 14 women who worked for Franken as a senator issued their own letter after Tweeden's accusations were revealed, saying he "treated us with the utmost respect."
What about the Arianna Huffington photos?
You might have seen this headline floating around from The New York Post, promising photos of Franken grabbing and touching Arianna Huffington during a 2000 photo shoot.
The images (published by the Post's Page Six celebrity gossip section) are real, of course.
But Huffington says definitively there wasn't any problem, and that the whole thing was a reference to a sketch they did together for Politically Incorrect called Strange Bedfellows.
"The notion that there was anything inappropriate in this photo shoot is truly absurd,” she told The Post, later adding: “I’ve been great friends with Al and his wife Franni for over 20 years and there has never been anything remotely inappropriate in our interactions.”