Author and longtime radio host Garrison Keillor was fired on Wednesday amid allegations of improper conduct. Minnesota Public Radio did not specify details; Keillor told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that his crime was patting a woman on the back in a show of consolation.
Keillor’s dismissal was announced, coincidentally, not long after NBC announced it had terminated longtime host Matt Lauer, citing a single allegation. Subsequent reports from Variety, the New York Times and NBC itself indicate a far more widespread issue, and Lauer has issued a lengthy and contrite statement of apology.
Keillor’s statement is quite different.
Keillor says he is sorry “for all the poets whose work I won’t be reading on the radio and sorry for all the people who will lose work on account of this.”
His web site now consists solely of the statement:
“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. A person could not hope for more than what I was given. I’ve been fired over a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard. Most stories are. It’s some sort of poetic irony to be knocked off the air by a story, having told so many of them myself, but I’m 75 and don’t have any interest in arguing about this. And I cannot in conscience bring danger to a great organization I’ve worked hard for since 1969. I am sorry for all the poets whose work I won’t be reading on the radio and sorry for the people who will lose work on account of this. But my profound feeling is that of gratitude, especially to my wife Jenny, and for this painful experience that has brought us even closer together.
— Garrison Keillor”