MINNEAPOLIS — Dec 7, 2017, 7:35 PM ET

Keillor: Radio station fired me without full investigation

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Garrison Keillor says Minnesota Public Radio was wrong to fire him last week without fully investigating what a senior executive has described as "multiple allegations" spanning an extended period against the former "A Prairie Home Companion" host.

Jon McTaggart, CEO of MPR's parent company American Public Media Group, addressed the issue at an employee meeting Wednesday. McTaggart didn't provide details of the allegations against the 75-year-old veteran broadcaster, saying only that he has shared them with lawyers and board members.

MPR News reporters refused to attend the meeting because its contents had been declared off the record, but they compiled a report based on interviews with colleagues who did.

In a statement Thursday morning, MPR insisted it conducted a proper review. The statement said two people formerly associated with the show alleged "multiple incidents of inappropriate behavior" by Keillor, though only one claimed the behavior was directed at her. The station said it hasn't made additional details public because the two want privacy.

"The allegations were carefully investigated before MPR made the decision to terminate contracts with Mr. Keillor," the statement said.

Keillor announced Nov. 30 that MPR had terminated his contracts after four decades of entertaining public radio listeners with tales of small-town characters. He said he was fired over "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard." Keillor didn't provide details to the Associated Press but later told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had put his hand on a woman's bare back as he tried to console her.

Keillor retired as host of "A Prairie Home Companion" in 2016 but had continued to work for MPR on various projects.

McTaggart said Wednesday that no one else in the company knows the content of the "multiple allegations" against Keillor that span an extended period of time.

Keillor told the Associated Press in an email later Wednesday that he was not at the meeting hosted by McTaggart, so he couldn't provide details of what was said. But he expressed disappointment at the company's response to the allegations.

"I expect to deal with MPR soon to try to fix the enormous mistake they have made by not conducting a full and fair investigation," he said.

Keillor's attorney emailed a statement to AP early Thursday stressing that they know of allegations made by "one individual."

"We trust that Mr. McTaggart will set the record straight in this respect to avoid any misperceptions on that point," Eric Nilsson said in the statement.

Keillor said he wants the matter to be resolved quickly and "with it expects a full restoration of his reputation," Nilsson said.

Keillor, 75, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he plans to go to Mayo Clinic next week for a pacemaker implant because he was having heart problems. ""Pretty routine but still serious," wrote Keillor, who underwent surgery to repair a heart valve at Mayo in 2001. "I'm fine."

"A Prairie Home Companion" continues with Keillor's hand-picked successor, mandolinist Chris Thile.

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  • bentonb

    MPR makes a lot of money from the entity that GK created. I'm sure that cutting all ties will be quite profitable for MPR. In today's climate, an organization can fire anyone for sexual misconduct without any due process to protect an alleged victim......What a supersizing coincidence!!

  • Jack Parker

    A few comments:
    1. Minnesota Public Radio LEADERSHIP needs to step down. They have shown they are not prepared to operate in the modern world.
    2. Please write your local public radio station and demand the rest of the story...a full and thorough explanation is due given Garrison Keillor's contribution to Public Radio.
    3. Please withhold pledged and future funding of Public Media until they make things right. As is, GK is being punished for other people's actions and not his own. I'm begging all Public Radio supporters to not support this treatment of Garrison Keillor. He deserves to be treated fairly and that has not happened.

  • Hank R

    Apparently we have reached the stage where only an accusation is needed. Guilty unless proven innocent.

  • Ivan Ivanovitch

    Wow.... the Na'vi people could all sleep in his eyebrows.

  • Weather3014

    I bet there was an investigation which entailed asking other employees. What employer wants to wrongly fire an employee especially a well known one with resources to get his own lawyer? Hey Garrison, you already admitted the touching happened. Do you really want the drawn out humiliation of more attention? If you have a case, let your lawyer do your talking.

  • Captn Blynd

    "if you are accused of a wrongdoing - lose your job." I lifted this quote from this comment section. If you cannot see the problem with this then you are part of the problem.

    I think the next time a woman touches my arm or calls me "sweetie" ( as happens all the time) , I will file a sexual harassment claim. Sure, that is the way they have always behaved and there is nothing sexual about it but she touched me and used an inappropriate term. Maybe I will get a quick, private, settlement from her or the company she works for. Of course, I expect her to be publicly fired and vilified as well.

    I would execute violent rapists and castrate sexual predators. This isn't really about sexual assault any more, is it? "The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him." ( results of a quick search). It is about NOT filing with the courts in order to deprive the accused of any rights. Sorry, we are not discussing rape victims. We are not discussing assault. We are not actually discussing anything, just pointing fingers and making claims. If it violates the law, it belongs in our courts. If it does not violate the law, how is it an offense?

    How about if I simply do not hire any women for fear they may be offended by me or my staff and I want to protect them from any possible offense? We write laws so we know where the lines are. Was the action legal or illegal? How are any of us supposed to follow the rules when we do not know them and they don't even count? I do not defend abusers. The only way to be certain I can not be accused is to not allow women in my presence. So what is the goal of these accusations, and is this choice an unfortunate side effect or a goal?

    I like clear rules. I follow clear rules. What are the rules now?

  • turtlemouth

    That's the way it is with sex crimes - the mere accusation is considered proof of guilt and to question the accusation is considered "re-victimizing the victim."

  • 3 Wise Men

    Investigation? We don't need no stinkin' investigation. A bunch of woman say it's true so you're fired.

  • Jackie

    This troll is the thing of nightmares! It's way past time for his retirement.

  • Edup McD

    Keillor can file for unemployment - a determination will be made by a case worker ...
    However, if he contests the ruling a judge will then decide whether the employer's grounds for dismissal are w/in legal guidelines ...
    From there, he can sue in civil court if he chooses ...

  • Prophet With Honor

    Would any of these accusations stand up in an actual court?

  • Franmon

    "We have details but can't share them. You just have to take our word for it."
    When did we start running a 2nd justice system and when did McCarthy tactics become OK once more?

  • TheDom

    Yep that's all it takes is some accusation(s) and out you go. No trial, no face your accusers, nope HR rolls in NAZI style and out you go.

    I think Men should start calling into HR for every little petty comment women do at work. Every "hot guy" comment that they make routinely, every comment about needing some "D", every single one of them.

  • Ace Duncan

    No man gets a full investigation before losing his job. Once he is accused, he is presumed guilty, and unsalvageable. He is
    summarily discarded and gets no sympathy.
    No one does investigations anymore.

  • Night_Fury

    While I commend the women for coming forward now.... there needs to be due process in all of the claims. We don't want another Salem Witch Trial hysteria.

  • Nicholas Ingraham

    True story: our son was harassed for four years by false abuse claims coming from a woman that he barely knew, who used different names in four different states when obtaining the orders. Apparently, someone can go to a domestic violence office, fabricate things like a "we lived together at 33 Maple Street for 10 years and I was repeatedly abused", accuse anyone of anything, and without having to offer a SINGLE shred of evidence for anything that you've claimed - even proof of having lived together at the same address for "ten years" - get that person served with a restraining order. You also get a lawyer, a coterie of shoulders to cry on, a "safe place" to live, food, clothes, etc. Our son's accuser we later learned - after four years, three court appearances, getting R.O.'s vacated, and legal expenses - was a long time professional "victim" who'd done this to men for years. The kicker is that she was ordered to make financial restitution to our son - but was free to go - into oblivion of course. Her offense was an arrestable one but it never happens - for fear of "scaring away" real victims.

    The moral: most claims of sexual abuse are legitimate - I believe that - but I wish that people would scream about injustices connected to FALSE claims in the same way they are screaming now about high profile accusations. A man's life ruined by false claims is every bit as valuable as a woman's life ruined by genuine abuse.

  • 3 Wise Men

    We're definitely treading on dangerous ground here when an allegation gets you fired. Think of all the women out there that hate their boss or a man they work with.

  • Mike B.

    Sorry if I don't trust an executive that says "He alone knows the information" " he alone made the decision" "trust me". NOT!
    I think the ceo is afraid to go back on his original bad decision, because of the probable repercussions.

  • Sejal

    He's kind of gross looking.

  • Ideology

    Are you saying women lie! You sexist pig!

  • Rubber Banned

    The investigations that lead to these firings seem mostly to be Mgt and lawyers huddling to make sure they can legally fire the accused and avoid getting caught up in the witch hunt.