Veteran radio host and writer Garrison Keillor has become the latest U.S. broadcaster to be fired over allegations of “inappropriate behavior”.
Officials at Minnesota Public Radio announced on Wednesday (29Nov17) that they were cutting ties with longtime employee Keillor, the creator and former host of popular radio show A Prairie Home Companion, citing “inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him”.
As a result, they will no longer air The Writer’s Almanac, a daily syndicated program Keillor writes and produces, while variety show A Prairie Home Companion, which began in 1974, will now be given a new title with current presenter Chris Thile. The long-running series had previously inspired the 2006 film of the same name, starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, and Lindsay Lohan.
Keillor, who has also worked as a voice-over actor, has since detailed the incident which reportedly led to his firing, insisting he had already apologized for unintentionally making the unidentified female colleague uncomfortable.
In an email to Minnesota’s Star Tribune newspaper, the 75-year-old explained, “I put my hand on a woman’s bare back. 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 apologized. 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.”
Keillor went on to claim he is known as the “least physically affectionate person in the building”, but accepted his departure and insisted, “I’m just fine. I had a good long run and am grateful for it and for everything else.”
The news of his exit emerges a day after he hit headlines for penning a column in The Washington Post, in which he dismissed calls for former comedian-turned-U.S. Senator Al Franken to resign after he was accused of sexual misconduct.
“This is pure absurdity, and the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness,” he declared. “No kidding.”
Keillor is the latest public personality to lose his job over claims of improper behavior. Early on Wednesday, NBC newsman and Today show co-host Matt Lauer was also fired, following in the footsteps of veteran broadcaster Charlie Rose, who was recently let go by CBS officials after apologizing for his past sexual misconduct.