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Baenen writes: "Keillor expressed disappointment at Minnesota Public Radio's response to the allegations."

Garrison Keillor. (photo: AP)
Garrison Keillor. (photo: AP)

Garrison Keillor: MPR Fired Me Without Hearing My Side

By Jeff Baenen, Star Tribune

08 December 17


arrison 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. your social media marketing partner


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+45 # Wise woman 2017-12-08 12:31
Again, I don't even know how to comment on this except to say that MPR must have some serious information about these allegations to risk a huge law suit by Keillor. However, to act as they did under the veil of secrecy disturbs me. It's a stunning bit of news coming as it did regarding a person long held in high esteem. I hope MPR can provide enough evidence to warrant the destruction of Keillors career and life as he knew it. It's only fair to him and his large body of admirers.
+10 # pappajohn 2017-12-10 10:51
With this recent illumination of the longstanding issue, perhaps it is time for some sort of organized, even-handed administration body to investigate each allegation. Right now we only have uneven and idiosyncratic decisions by the authority in each case ranging from chicken-shit management to good-old-boy cover-ups.

Perhaps a state or federal body to oversee this is in order, finally. An independent agency that will respect the victim as well as the accused, consider only the facts (not peripheral issues like publicity or politics) and render some sort of decision that might be fairer to all concerned…
+45 # Spud 2017-12-08 12:47
How much did the conservative, corporate orientation of American Public Media Group influence their decision making process?
+40 # elizabethblock 2017-12-08 14:15
I am waiting to hear Garrison Keillor's full account.
+33 # goodsensecynic 2017-12-09 08:46
Yes, there was once a notion that was popular among Americans and others in the "western world." It was called the presumption of innocence.

I don't think the term "witch hunt" is appropriate, since I don't believe in "witches" and, besides, most of the victims were women. I do, however, understand something of the "mob mentality," "vigilante justice" and other terms that describe what happens when we abandon the rule of law.

Garrison Keillor, who has pretty much embodied decency and traditional American values, always knew the importance of caution when tossing unverified and anonymous accusations around and of judging people in secret proceedings. It's a shame he has become a victim of one such rush to judgment.

Who know? He may be guilty of some misconduct, but he - no less than Donald Trump, Roy Moore and others - deserves an fair and open process so that he can defend himself. Of course, the chances that either Trump (who boasts of his bad behavior) or Moore (whose multiple accusers have done so in public) will ever be held to account are slim.

In the alternative, Keillor may be permanently damaged without ever being able to question the person(s) who have accused him in secret.
+52 # Blackjack 2017-12-08 14:21
The Koch Bros. have been calling the shots in MN for some time. NPR has continued to kowtow. Shame on them!
+15 # RLF 2017-12-09 06:51
NPR has become all about the money and growth. Nothing there comes from outside the Washington bubble!
-41 # st jean 2017-12-08 14:42
Typically, "more investigation" means "shut the woman up"
+16 # kalpal 2017-12-09 10:08
During the Clarence Thomas hearings several women were present and were ready to testify about his behavior. Only one woman was permitted to testify and she was massively spewed venomously at by the RW who insisted that he was excellently qualified to fill the role of being Scalia's water boy. He filled that role well.
Is that what you meant by shut the woman up?
-45 # indian weaver 2017-12-08 14:53
Keillor should be happy he's been bailed by his employer onto the streets. After all, most of us who inform ourselves know that NPR has gone MSM, like Al-Jazeera and The Guardian, and is no longer a credible news source anyhow. It's one thing to be a guest on NPR. It's a sell-out to contribute regularly as a writer. Maybe Keillor is MSM himself too, and belonged there.
+21 # Lisa Simeone 2017-12-09 07:37
Quoting indian weaver:
Keillor should be happy he's been bailed by his employer onto the streets. After all, most of us who inform ourselves know that NPR has gone MSM, like Al-Jazeera and The Guardian, and is no longer a credible news source anyhow. It's one thing to be a guest on NPR. It's a sell-out to contribute regularly as a writer. Maybe Keillor is MSM himself too, and belonged there.

Keillor never worked for NPR. NPR is National Public Radio, a completely different entity from MPR, Minnesota Public Radio.
+39 # goodsensecynic 2017-12-09 08:27
Even if I took you seriously about NPR becoming (I presume) softly "leftish," what has that got to do with the fact that Garrison Keillor has been anonymously accused of unspecified acts and terminated by his employer in secret without the opportunity to know the charges against him, to present his own defense or to cross-examine witnesses (if any) and respond to evidence (if any) against him.

There are ethical and legal principles in play, one of which is known by lawyers and others as "audi alterem partem" (the duty of a judge, whether in court or in a formal administrative procedure under employment law) to hear the other side.

I don't know if Keillor is innocent or guilty or whatever it is he's been accused of doing - but neither does anyone else. Precipitating an action that has already done damage and will have residual consequences even if he is cleared of any wrongdoing is not something that entitles a person to "anonymity."

It smacks of McCarthyism at its worst. At the very least, it "just ain't fair!"
+5 # trimegestus 2017-12-09 23:09
Thank you goodsensecynic for sharing something valuable with us.
Quote: There are ethical and legal principles in play, one of which is known by lawyers and others as "audi alterem partem" (the duty of a judge, whether in court or in a formal administrative procedure under employment law) to hear the other side.
+8 # kalpal 2017-12-09 10:04
Within America's RW NPR was never accepted as a credible news source since NPR never bothered to swallow RW lies as though they were ambrosia or nectar of the gods. Such behavior has never been anathema to the RW liars.
+67 # mlamb 2017-12-08 15:19
The most valuable lesson I learned during my 10-year stint as a business owner with multiple employees is that there is indeed more than one side to every story. I lost count of how many times one employee's complaint immediately inclined me to fire the "offending" employee—until I heard that person's perfectly logical explanation. Each had related the "facts" to me as they perceived them, but once I facilitated a level-headed exchange, all of us (including other employees) invariably learned and benefited from the experience. I now see this as Management 101, and the obligatory responsibility of the person in charge. To shirk this responsibility, whether out of incompetence or malice or hidden agenda, is inexcusable ... and a huge blunder that can have devastating consequences.
+66 # jwb110 2017-12-08 15:46
I have no truck with those who harass men and women sexually. I think it deplorable. That said, this new spate of allegations is turning into a witch hunt. And in this new world of trumpian fake news and deflection from issues of democracy I am suspect of who is being paid off to make allegations. Much of this is political haymaking. Further, it trivializes men and women who have actually been harassed.
If nothing else a fair hearing should be had. There is a great deal of room for abuse on both sides so taking the time to not abuse either the abused or the abuser seems a better plan of action.
+25 # vamom1 2017-12-09 08:12
YES. It seems that anyone can make an allegation, without any evidence besides "he said this", and that person is tossed out the door before the ink is dry on the statement. Also, so many of the allegations against various people are a matter of "he said, she said" and drastic action taken as a result. I have no patience with any man that harasses (or worse) any woman, and I wish I had a dollar for every jerk I had to put up with - but witchhunt is exactly the term for what's going on now. I want to see allegations, investigations, and the other side's explanation, then a penalty or an exoneration. Otherwise - anyone can say anything about anyone anytime they choose. I also think it's very interesting that so many are coming out of the woodwork with unverifiable claims, at a time when every vote counts. Something stinks.
+53 # angelfish 2017-12-08 15:48
Does anyone ELSE find it curious that the ONLY ones being accused and vilified are more Liberal thinking individuals? With Numerous, Multiple allegations against Conservaftives, INCLUDING the Orange Haired Menace in our White House, WHY no Investigations into Those incidents that Il Douche has BRAGGED about to others because, "When you're a Star ("Rich") they let you do it"? I have hope that God in His Infinite Wisdom will Obliterate these Sleaze Buckets for their Mendacity, Their Digusting Abuse of Power, and just for BEING Useless abusers of ANYONE who isn't Filthy Rich! Until Special Prosecuto Mueller Indicts the LOT of them, Resist! Rebel! and RePudiate their Vicious Lies and Atrocious Behaviors!
+40 # Lolanne 2017-12-08 16:12
I don't know the facts about this allegation, of course, but it has occurred to me over the past few days that there could be a "witch hunt" starting (except against males this time). While I don't doubt there has been and is currently plenty of abuse/harassmen t against women, I am finding it a little hard to believe that all the current allegations I'm hearing are factual. As a woman, I've certainly had my share of issues w/men over the years, but I learned early on that it wasn't difficult to shut it down with a clear, forceful reaction. Maybe I was just lucky or maybe it is worse now? I don't know. But I'm afraid many women who do not have legitimate complaints could be trying to join the stampede against well known men who stand accused -- just in case there is a pie in the offing they might be able to grab a piece of.
+14 # vamom1 2017-12-09 08:15
I'm wondering who's paying them. I can't see why a woman wouldn't tell Al Franken to get his hand off her ass. I've seen many women do that to a boss and I've done it myself- it's part and parcel of working as a female. That there's no many shrinking violets now who were just terrified of saying anything to whichever person is accused -that worries me more -as in -what i wrong with these women that they have no backbone?
+40 # Cassandra2012 2017-12-08 16:15
Yet the self-confessed lunatic Pussy-groper-in -chief continues to haunt the halls of the White House!
And a despicable soulless Repugnican pedophile is still running for Senate in Alabama! Seems damned suspicious!
+34 # Anonymot 2017-12-08 16:24
Get used to it America. This is merely what precedes openly fascistic witch hunts, although,the sex roles are reversed. The accusation is proof and the verdict is rendered by the accuser.

We're half way down the PC pipe and will hit the sewage treatment plant shortly. There we will be converted to a correct understanding of things and become lily-white regardless of skin color.

Then the Clinton family and the Trump family (including Bibi's boy) will all hug each other in victory.

Sorry, Garrison. You lit up a lot of bright spots for a long time. In their preview to this, the Joe McCarthy era, a lot of Hollywood talent survived. One of them, self-exiled to London, even wrote a massively successful parody on the subject, High Noon. It played around the world as a great Western. I brought it back 17 years later with the detailsof the metaphor and it ran the international circuitlike a new film.

Every dictatorship requires some brainwashing and a lot of innocent victims. Woe be gone.
-1 # randrjwr 2017-12-10 00:24
"Every dictatorship requires some brainwashing and a lot of innocent victims. Woe be gone."

No--woe be right here and likely to stay on us a while.
+22 # Nonna 2017-12-08 20:09
I am a woman who has had to deal with sexual inuendos and disrespect all my life, and have utmost sympathy with those who have genuine complaints...bu t I also know that many false accusations have been rendered in this situation. It is too easy for someone who needs attention, or who has an emotional issue with men in general, to make a false accusation...or who does it for political or corporate reasons. Not enough has been addressed about false accusations. They can be just as damaging to a person's life as a true sexual assault. This has been a perfect storm and all possibilities and motivations have not been addressed, It has become a case of Guilty until proven Innocent...Not the american way. Remember the Anti-Communist Inquisition?
+10 # mathias 2017-12-08 20:55
Has NPR established a Star Chamber in which one can be accused by "person X" of being naughty in some way? And the accused does not get a fair hearing? I just wrote NPR out of my will.

Oh, those Norwegian bachelor farmers!
+4 # Lisa Simeone 2017-12-09 15:30
Quoting mathias:
Has NPR established a Star Chamber in which one can be accused by "person X" of being naughty in some way? And the accused does not get a fair hearing? I just wrote NPR out of my will.

Oh, those Norwegian bachelor farmers!

NPR and MPR are two different networks. They're both public radio, but they're competitors, the way ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, etc. are competitors. They might have similar sensibilities (on some things they do, on some they don't), but they're different entities with different management. Garrison Keillor never worked for NPR.
0 # mathias 2017-12-11 18:37
MPR too. But NPR should have the cojones to call out MPR on this. NPR is a revenue source for MPR.
+15 # Susansis 2017-12-08 20:59
I just miss my friend, the friend who brightened my mornings with the Writer's Almanac, ending with a poem. I don't believe there is a better reader of poetry anywhere on the planet. I miss you, Garrison! Could you please make a new CD or an independent ap that I could download so I could once again hear your dulcet tones. I'd buy any CD that had a season's worth of those five-minute gems. Please put one out soon, so I can take you with me, regardless of the outcome of this particular bru-ha-ha.
+12 # Politicoo 2017-12-08 21:40
Wouldn't it be valiant of Chris, the new PHC host,to stop the show and say - 'This is the Prairie Home Companion... I'm with Garrison.' I think I'd listen then.
0 # Lisa Simeone 2017-12-09 15:38
Quoting Politicoo:
Wouldn't it be valiant of Chris, the new PHC host,to stop the show and say - 'This is the Prairie Home Companion... I'm with Garrison.' I think I'd listen then.

And he'd quickly lose his job.
+24 # Brice 2017-12-08 22:25
Go Google the story of Tina Dupuy who asked Al Franken to take a picture with her at President Obama's inauguration and said that he put his hands on her waist, over her clothes. Dupuy said she had gained 20 pounds at that time and it made her feel fat.

Franken apparently got enough of these bullshit stories that the sheer number of them made it appear as if there was something in the nature of sexual harassment fire in the smoke of stupid stories, when there obviously was not.

I am not as familiar with Keillor's situation, and I honestly and maybe unfairly do not care so much because he is not a rightfully elected Democratic Senator who represents the people of the United States better than most, but Keillor should have due process like every other American. We cannot allow unproven allegations to hack our society to bits.

Maybe I am a conspiracy theorist to wonder if I see the broader workings of a plot that is going to shatter the solidarity of the Democratic party by making enemies of men and women Democrats. I know money runs both sides of Congress these days, and the media as well. How hard would it be to formulate a plan to make this whole issue seem ridiculous and undercut the rights of women at the same time by making them look like they have no concept of justice or proof.

What seemed like a good thinking of women making progress has been turned around and made to function against the Liberals, as usual,
+1 # AMaxwell 2017-12-08 22:54
Angelfish: hope that God in His Infinite Wisdom

In this context should that not be ‘God in HER Infinite Wisdom ‘? Prove me wrong but......
-3 # angelfish 2017-12-09 20:04
Picky picky, picky! He, She It is who He, She, It IS! Male, Female, Androgenous, God IS God! JUSTICE will be served no matter WHAT!
+2 # elkingo 2017-12-09 02:48
The thing is: that we all form impressions, like jurors. I buy all of the allegations against this rising tide of men, but Keilor is the hardest to buy. But this abuse pervades all levels of society, and has been in play since the beginning of civilization and before. Men sense it incipient in ourselves, but this does not mean we are all bums. But ultimately, who knows what to believe of whom? If the world is to be saved, it will be by the tsunami of women rising up, and kids occupying open pit mines. Nothing short of a revolutionary consciousness change will save us from the insane world government culture. The women and children, crucial to evolution and survival. more than men, are returning from the lifeboats to rescuing the sinking ship with the men left on board.
+12 # kalpal 2017-12-09 10:09
Never asking him to explain or justify what happened seems to be a star chamber event.
0 # Brice 2018-01-03 20:51
Even if you "buy" it, does that mean you are willing to punish just on your own intuitive feeling, in all cases?
+9 # Skanner 2017-12-09 16:09
Keillor is 75 years old, and has contributed MORE than his share to the Commonweal over the years. He deserves an honored seat among the retirees - IF such a place appeals to him. Regardless of whether NPR and MSR desire to continue distributing GK's wishdom, there will always be a rapt audience in the US and Canada for him.
+3 # LionMousePudding 2017-12-11 00:07
Has anyone else noticed that EVERY article we have read here lately has been arguing for the MALE? Do I see a trend?

I am neither referring to this case, nor specifically disputing any article in this writing. But it certainly adds to a woman's feeling that women do not belong here. Surely there are some intelligent Progressive voices somewhere which support the movement? Are they so hard to fi d, Marc?

I was given about 67 negatives when I suggested that Marc Ash in his own essay displayed not one word of support for any woman or the movement itself. NOW do you believe me?

Marc I donate every month. I am starting to wonder if this is the wrong place for an intelligent, alert, Progressive female.
+3 # LionMousePudding 2017-12-11 14:50
Yesterday after I wrote this I saw there was an excellent article about the movement. (It very carefully did not criticize any Democrats, which is how it made the cut).

Please read "Let this flood of winen's stories never cease." Please. There have been so many dispiriting comments here as people have disparaged victims or alleged victims in the quest to vindicate Progressive men.

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