November 21, 2017 at 09:23 AM EST

Women who worked with Al Franken on Saturday Night Live are stepping out to support him — 36 “SNL Women,” to be exact.

The comic-turned-senator, who spent a total of 15 years on the series as a writer and performer, faced sexual misconduct accusations by KABC radio anchor Leeann Tweeden last week, who claimed Franken groped her and kissed her without consent during a USO tour in 2006, and even released a photo of Franken appearing to be grabbing her breasts while she was sleeping. Franken has since apologized and Tweeden accepted it, and now, his former colleagues are speaking out in solidarity with him.

“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),” begins a statement signed by the 36 women, including Not Ready for Prime Time Players Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman. “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.”

Last weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live didn’t exactly go easy on Franken. “Now, I know this photo looks bad, but remember — it also is bad,” Colin Jost quipped during Weekend Update, later adding, “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, ‘Oh, come on, he didn’t know anything — he was only 55.'”

The original late-night comedy sketch show from the one and only Lorne Micheals.
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859
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10/11/75
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