MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For 47 years, he was Minnesota Public Radio’s biggest attraction. But on Wednesday, Garrison Keillor became the latest high-profile figure toppled by allegations of inappropriate behavior.
MPR fired the 75-year-old creator of “A Prairie Home Companion” over alleged misconduct with a female employee.
What’s so unsettling is this comes in the wake of allegations against Sen. Al Franken and just hours after NBC terminated anchor Matt Lauer over alleged sexual misconduct.
Keillor’s firing happened after a woman complained that he inappropriately touched her bare back. Minnesota Public Radio severed ties with him following an investigation.
Keillor sent an email to Star Tribune media writer Neal Justin that said, “I put my hand on a woman’s bare back.”
According to Keillor, the woman recoiled and he apologized, adding: “We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”
A statement from MPR says an outside law firm conducted an internal investigation, adding that “there are no similar allegations involving other staff.”
Even so, the investigation is still on-going.
On a Facebook page bearing Keillor’s name – a post late Wednesday read “It’s astonishing that fifty years of hard work can be trashed in a morning by an accusation. I always believed in hard work and now it feels sort of meaningless.” The post – which was later deleted – was filled with comments of support.
Fans of Keillor were quick to react.
“Got to be much more careful and cautious and treat people the way they want to be treated,” said fan Jeff Slack. “The bottom line is it’s not a real complicated equation.”
Keillor’s been among MPR’s biggest attractions for more than 45 years. He recently retired from “A Prairie Home Companion,” but was still contributing pieces for the radio.
According to MPR’s statement, they’ll rename the show, as well as stop airing “Best Of” broadcasts and his Writer’s Almanac.
WCCO left a message for Keillor but have not heard back.