Garrison Keillor, the former host of National Public Radio weekend staple, A Prarie Home Companion, has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio for “inappropriate behavior.”
In a statement to the Associated Press, Keillor confirmed that he had been fired over what he cryptically described as “a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.” MPR confirmed Keillor’s termination to the AP, writing in a statement that it is, “terminating its contracts with Garrison Keillor and his private media companies after recently learning of allegations of his inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him.” MPR added that it will no longer re-air episodes of Prairie Home Companion where Keillor is the host. “The program’s current iteration hosted by Chris Thile will get a new name,” the AP reports.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post published a rambling op-ed by Keillor that defended embattled Minnesota Senator Al Franken, calling one of the allegations against him “pure absurdity.” Franken has been accused by numerous women of groping them without consent. One woman, Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of unwanted kissing and published a photograph of the Senator grabbing her while asleep. “Al ogled Miss Tweeden and pretended to grab her and a picture was taken,” Keillor wrote. He continued: “Eleven years later, a talk show host in LA, she goes public, and there is talk of resignation. This is pure absurdity, and the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness. No kidding.”
No kidding, indeed.
Update: In an email to the Star Tribune, Keillor said that he “put my hand on a woman’s bare back.” He continued: “I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.” He added that he was not a physically affectionate person and described the allegations as “poetic irony.” “If I had a dollar for every woman who asked to take a selfie with me and who slipped an arm around me and let it drift down below the beltline, I’d have at least a hundred dollars. So this is poetic irony of a high order,” Keillor wrote to the paper.