Garrison Keillor, former host of America’s beloved “Prairie Home Companion,” has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio for alleged “inappropriate behavior.”
Keillor, 75, had retired from his radio show but still produced “The Writer’s Almanac” for syndication.
Keillor initially broke the news, telling The Associated Press he was fired over “a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.”
Minnesota Public Radio confirmed the termination, effective immediately.
“Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) 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,” it said in a statement.
MPR did not give further details about the alleged misconduct, referring to the statement.
“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),” the statement added.
It also said it has severed business ties with Keillor’s media companies, including ending distribution and broadcast of “The Writer’s Almanac” and rebroadcasts of “The Best of A Prairie Home Companion,” hosted by Keillor. Minnesota Public Radio will also change the name of the weekly music and variety program, hosted by Chris Thile, and will separate from the Pretty Good Goods online catalog and the PrairieHome.org website.
“Garrison Keillor has been an important part of the growth and success of MPR, and all of us in the MPR community are saddened by these circumstances,” MPR President Jon McTaggart said in the statement.
“While we appreciate the contributions Garrison has made to MPR and to all of public radio, we believe this decision is the right thing to do and is necessary to continue to earn the trust of our audiences, employees and supporters of our public service.”
Just one day earlier, Keillor published a high profile op-ed in The Washington Post, entitled “Al Franken should resign? That’s absurd.” The Minnesota senator is under fire for sexual misconduct allegations from four women.
In the piece, Keillor likened a photograph of Franken faux-groping TV personality Leann Tweeden during a USO event to a gag “in a spirit of low comedy,” and her resulting accusation years later as “pure absurdity, and the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness. No kidding.”
Keillor seems to forgive the Democrat in context with the behavior of other high profile men throughout history.
“Franken should change his name to Newman and put the USO debacle behind him and then we’ll change frankincense to Febreze. Remove the slaveholder Washington from our maps, replacing him with Wampanoag, and replace Jefferson, who slept with Sally Hemings — consensual? I doubt it — with Powhatan, and what about the FDR Drive in New York, named for a man who was unfaithful to his wife? Let’s call it RFD and let it go at that,” he wrote.
Keillor could not be located for comment. His website crashed after the announcement, and the last tweet on his Twitter page was a day earlier. It was a retweet of his Franken op-ed piece.