ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Garrison Keillor has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio “after recently learning of allegations of inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him.” MPR learned of the alleged behavior last month, which stemmed from his time with the production of the long-running live radio series “A Prairie Home Companion.”
MPR hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation and have not found any similar allegations involving other staff. A confidential hotline has been established for anyone with additional information or complaints. That number can be reached at 1-877-767-7781.
“MPR takes these allegations seriously and we are committed to maintaining a safe, respectful and supportive work environment for all employees and everyone associated with MPR,” the company said in a statement. “We want a workplace where anyone who experiences unwanted behavior feels comfortable in reporting concerns to MPR. Discrimination, harassment, retaliation or other inappropriate behaviors will not be tolerated.”
The news of Keillor's firing comes on the same morning NBC News announced longtime "Today" show host Matt Lauer has been fired for "inappropriate sexual behavior."
Keillor, 75, retired as host of “A Prairie Home Companion” in 2016. In addition to firing Keillor, MPR is terminating its contracts with Keillor’s private media companies. This means MPR will no longer broadcast or distribute The Writer's Almanac and rebroadcasts of “The Best of A Prairie Home Companion” hosted by Garrison Keillor. The current version of “A Prairie Home Companion” hosted by Chris Thile will get a new name.
Keillor told the Associated Press he was fired over "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard."
Full statement from Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) is terminating its contracts with Garrison Keillor and his private media companies after recently learning of allegations of his inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him.
Last month, MPR was notified of the allegations which relate to Mr. Keillor's conduct while he was responsible for the production of A Prairie Home Companion (APHC). MPR President Jon McTaggart immediately informed the MPR Board Chair, and a special Board committee was appointed to provide oversight and ongoing counsel. In addition, MPR retained an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations. Based on what we currently know, there are no similar allegations involving other staff. The attorney leading the independent investigation has been conducting interviews and reviewing documents, and the investigation is still ongoing. We encourage anyone with additional information to call our confidential hotline 1-877-767-7781.
MPR takes these allegations seriously and we are committed to maintaining a safe, respectful and supportive work environment for all employees and everyone associated with MPR. We want a workplace where anyone who experiences unwanted behavior feels comfortable in reporting concerns to MPR. Discrimination, harassment, retaliation or other inappropriate behaviors will not be tolerated.
MPR will end its business relationships with Mr. Keillor's media companies effective immediately. By terminating the contracts, MPR and American Public Media (APM) will:
* end distribution and broadcast of The Writer's Almanac and rebroadcasts of The Best of A Prairie Home Companion hosted by Garrison Keillor;
* change the name of APM's weekly music and variety program hosted by Chris Thile; and,
* separate from the Pretty Good Goods online catalog and the PrairieHome.org website.
MPR and APM will work closely with public radio stations to help make the programming transitions as seamless as possible.
"Garrison Keillor has been an important part of the growth and success of MPR, and all of us in the MPR community are saddened by these circumstances," said Jon McTaggart, President of MPR. "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 the trust of our audiences, employees and supporters of our public service." "Over the last several weeks, the special Board Committee has worked closely with MPR President Jon McTaggart and legal counsel to review the facts as we know them and carefully consider the implications of the various options," said David Murphy, Chair of the MPR Board of Trustees. "The Board Committee concluded that terminating the Keillor relationships was the appropriate decision and the Board and Jon are aligned in this action. Fortunately, MPR is one of the strongest public broadcasting organizations in the country. We are confident MPR will continue to innovate with programming and content that ensures MPR will remain one of the most valued sources of news, information and entertainment for decades to come."