In the avalanche of media figures being fired or disgraced for alleged sexual misconduct, most have not fought back. They have simply taken their firings in stride, even when some claimed innocence. Not so Garrison Keillor.
The founder and long-time host of Minnesota Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” as well as other programming, said MPR was “wrong” for firing him without “fully investigating” the allegations against him. Keillor did not go into detail about the truth or falsehood about the “multiple allegations” being leveled against him. MPR executives have kept mum on the details as well. They say they have shared the information will those who needed to know, but that the facts will go no further. Even MPR reporters were banned from reporting on the content of a meeting held by Jon McTaggart, CEO of American Public Media Group, which owns MPR.
Since they were not allowed to comment on or write about what was said in the meeting, many reporters refused to attend, adding yet another contentious wrinkle in what has become one of the more surprising incidents of sexual harassment allegations to lead to a firing in recent weeks. At this point, all the public knows is that two people made complaints against Keillor, though only one said that behavior was directed at her.
In a statement defending the firing, MPR announced. “The allegations were carefully investigated before MPR made the decision to terminate contracts with Mr. Keillor…”
Keillor Won’t Go Quietly
Keillor, however, would not go quietly as other media personalities have. He said there was more to the story than what MPR officials were told, saying the incident in question was an innocent attempt to “console” a colleague that was misconstrued. McTaggart implied the allegations amounted to more than that, but he would not elaborate.
In an email partially published by the Associated Press, Keillor said he was disappointed at MPR’s response to the allegations, and he planned to fight his firing. “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…”
Keillor’s attorney followed with a second letter saying, “We trust that Mr. McTaggart will set the record straight in this respect to avoid any misperceptions…”
The messages seemed to take the most umbrage at what MPR described as a thorough investigation. Keillor says that’s definitely not the case, strongly implying that, had the network chosen to “fully investigate,” the outcome likely would be different.
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