Radio host Garrison Keillor fired amid misconduct claims

The move comes a day after Keillor was sacked from his position at Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), where he hosted the popular variety show "A Prairie Home Companion".

In an email to MPR members, the network's president, Jon McTaggart, said, "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 your trust and that of our employees and other supporters so vital to our public service".

I am deeply grateful for all the years I had doing "A Prairie Home Companion" and "The Writer's Almanac", the summer tours, the outdoor shows at Tanglewood and Wolf Trap, the friendships of musicians and actors, the saga of Lake Wobegon, the songs and sketches, Guy Noir, Dusty & Lefty, the sheer pleasure of standing in the warmth of that audience.

In an expanded statement, MPR clarified that the allegations claim misconduct during Keillor's tenure as host of Prairie Home Companion and that "a special Board committee was appointed to provide oversight and ongoing counsel".

Minnesota Public Radio said it has retained an outside law firm to conduct an "independent investigation" into the allegations.

"I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness, and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches [15 cm]", he told the newspaper in an email.

"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. "Getting fired is a real distinction in broadcasting and I've waited fifty years for the honor". He says he apologized after she recoiled. Al Franken - who is now under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct - as "absurd", saying that Franken is getting unfairly pilloried for a "broad comedy of a sort that goes back to the Middle Ages".

In an email to MPR's news boss Wednesday afternoon, Keillor wrote, "I think the country is in the grip of a mania - the whole Franken business is an absurdity - and I wish someone [would] resist it, but I expect MPR to look out for itself, and meanwhile I feel awfully lucky to have hung on for so long". Eleven years later, a talk show host in L.A., she goes public with her embarrassment, and there is talk of resignation. "A person could not hope for more than what I was given".

In 1998, when "Prairie Home" was on 433 stations and in the ears of 2.5 million listeners, a Washington Post reporter spent a week with the show to write a profile of Keillor. "And I can not in conscience bring danger to a great organization I've worked hard for since 1969", Keillor told the news organization.

  • Joey Payne