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Minnesota Public Radio Cuts Ties With Garrison Keillor After Alleged Inappropriate Behavior

Nov 29, 2017
Originally published on November 29, 2017 5:25 pm
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Minnesota Public Radio announced today it's terminated all of its contracts with Garrison Keillor. The network said the decision came after learning of allegations of inappropriate behavior with someone who worked with Keillor. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has more.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: Millions of public radio listeners know Garrison Keillor from the variety show he created in 1974...

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION")

GARRISON KEILLOR: Back when I got my FCC radio operators license, you had to know Morse code.

BLAIR: ...To "The Writer's Almanac"...

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE WRITER'S ALMANAC WITH GARRISON KEILLOR")

KEILLOR: It's the birthday of Bronson Alcott, 1799, and also the birthday of his daughter.

BLAIR: There were books and even a movie starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline based on "A Prairie Home Companion." Keillor ended his run hosting that show last year, but he still produced "The Writer's Almanac," which is carried by hundreds of public radio stations. At least one of the show's sponsors announced that it too will end its relationship with the show. Elizabeth Burke-Dain is director of marketing for the Poetry Foundation.

ELIZABETH BURKE-DAIN: The Poetry Foundation is shocked with this news. First and foremost, we support those who have had the courage to speak out about inappropriate behavior. We appreciate Minnesota Public Radio's forthrightness and decisive action and have ended our support of "The Writer's Almanac."

BLAIR: Minnesota Public Radio severed its longstanding ties with Keillor just a day after he wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post defending Al Franken against allegations of sexual misconduct. Keillor writes that calls for Senator Franken to resign are, quote, "pure absurdity." Today, Keillor defended himself against similar allegations. In an email to the Star Tribune, he says he meant to pat a woman on her back when she told him she was unhappy. He says her shirt was open and that his hand went up it about six inches. He says he apologized after she recoiled. He writes that he thought they were friends until he got a call from her lawyer.

In a statement, Minnesota Public Radio President John McTaggart says Garrison Keillor has been an important part of the growth and success of NPR, and all of us in the NPR community are saddened by these circumstances. In recent weeks, National Public Radio has also fired or suspended male executives who've been accused of harassment. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.