Minnesota Public Radio has cut ties with Garrison Keillor, the well-known former host of radio show A Prairie Home Companion, because of alleged unspecified misconduct.
“Last month, MPR was notified of the allegations which relate to Mr. Keillor’s conduct while he was responsible for the production of A Prairie Home Companion (APHC),” Minnesota Public Radio said in a statement on Wednesday.
MPR and American Public Media (the station’s owner) will end The Writer’s Almanac, produced by Keillor, and rebroadcasts of The Best of A Prairie Home Companion. They will also sever ties with Keillor’s production company, the Pretty Good Goods online shop, and PrairieHome.org. It will also change the name of the current iteration of A Prairie Home Companion, which is currently hosted by Chris Thile.
“MPR and APM will work closely with public radio stations to help make the programming transitions as seamless as possible,” the statement explained.
While MPR didn’t offer specifics about the misconduct, Keillor told the Minnesota Star Tribune that, “I put my hand on a woman’s bare back,” going on to claim that he’d been groped dozens of times by fans. He also told the Associated Press that the story was “more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.”
The firing of the host and creator of the beloved fictional town, Lake Wobegon, came just a day after the Washington Post published an op-ed by Keillor in which he defended Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who was accused of sexual harassment, saying that Franken should not resign.
“On the flight home, in a spirit of low comedy, Al ogled Miss Tweeden and pretended to grab her and a picture was taken,” Keillor wrote. “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.”
The allegations against Keillor have also dredged up a C-SPAN video of a 1994 National Press Club speech in which Keillor said, “A world in which there is no sexual harassment at all is a world in which there will not be any flirtation.”