The homegrown humourist said he was fired over ‘a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard’
FILE - In this July 20, 2015 file photo, Garrison Keillor, creator and host of "A Prairie Home Companion," appears during an interview in St. Paul, Minn. Keillor says he has suffered a brain seizure but that this week's show apparently will go on. Keillor posted on Facebook on Thursday, June 2, 2016, that he had what he called a "whirlwind weekend," doing two shows at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Virginia and suffering a "nocturnal brain seizure." (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
Garrison Keillor, whose stories of small-town characters entertained legions of public radio listeners for 40 years on A Prairie Home Companion, became another celebrity felled by allegations of workplace misconduct on Wednesday when Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) terminated his contract.
The homegrown humourist said he was fired over “a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard”. Keillor didn’t detail the allegation, but he later told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had put his hand on a woman’s bare back when trying to console her.
“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. She recoiled. I apologised,” Keillor told the newspaper in an email. “I sent her an email of apology later, and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it.
“We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.”
MPR said only that it received allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” against Keillor last month involving one person who worked with him during his time hosting A Prairie Home Companion. Keillor retired as host of the radio variety show last year, but continued to work for MPR on various projects.
MPR said it had received no other complaints but had retained an outside law firm that was continuing to investigate.
Later Wednesday, Keillor gave a statement to MPR News saying he had to “respect the privacy of the two employees who have made the allegations”.
Sue Scott, who worked on the show as a voice actor for 24 years with Keillor, said she was stunned. She said she saw no evidence of inappropriate behaviour from Keillor.