Garrison Keillor is not going away quietly. One week after Minnesota Public Radio announced it was severing ties to Keillor because of alleged inappropriate behavior toward a female co-worker, the legendary broadcaster is working to salvage his reputation, insisting he was treated unfairly during MPR’s investigation.
“I wish Jon McTaggart had asked to hear my side of the story,” Keillor said in an e-mail Thursday, referring to the chief executive officer for American Public Media, MPR’s parent company. “Every story has two sides, sometimes more. He could have looked at the e-mails and the phone texts. It would’ve taken about an hour of his time and it could’ve saved us all this drama.”
Later in the afternoon, Keillor said that both parties may be “heading towards a happy resolution.” When pressed for more details, the former host of “A Prairie Home Companion” responded: “It means lawyers talking to lawyers. I’m out of it. Writing a story.”
MPR did not return requests for comment.
Keillor also said he was having heart problems and scheduled an appointment next week at the Mayo Clinic for a pacemaker implant. “Pretty routine but still serious,” he wrote. “I’m fine.”
Early Thursday morning, his attorney, Eric Nilsson, informed the Star Tribune that Keillor was seeking a swift resolution of the consequences from MPR’s decision and with it, “he expects a full restoration of his reputation.”
In the statement, Nilsson cited an MPR News report about a staff meeting Wednesday during which McTaggart referred to “multiple allegations” against Keillor. “We are aware of allegations against Mr. Keillor by only one individual,” he wrote. “We trust that Mr. McTaggart will set the record straight.”
Later, MPR communications director Angie Andresen said that the company had complaints from two individuals associated with “A Prairie Home Companion” but that the alleged behavior was directed at only one of them.
“The allegations were carefully investigated before MPR made the decision to terminate contracts with Mr. Keillor,” she said. “We have not made additional details public because the individuals making the allegations have chosen to keep their identities private.”
McTaggart held an off-the-record session Wednesday with MPR employees in which he stated that he alone knew the content of “multiple allegations” against Keillor spanning an extended period of time, according to MPR News.
While MPR has offered few details on the decision to drop its biggest name, Keillor has used Facebook to defend himself, often putting up posts for a few hours before deleting them. The jottings have included limericks, love letters to his wife, Jenny Lind Nilsson, and praise for classical music, which has been helping him “wipe out the anger going around in my head.”
One recent post was particularly reflective:
“There has never been a time in my life when I’ve learned so much as I have this week. One should be grateful for education, no matter how it comes, and I am. I will take my time pondering the lessons. I am 75 and I now see so much of what I once assumed as essentially fallacious. That’s okay. It just needs to be absorbed. Meanwhile, I’m in deep love with Jenny Nilsson and I’m working on two of the best pieces of writing of my life, silly things that make me laugh. This is all a man needs. A man can get along without a good reputation if he is lucky in his love and in his work. I am blessed.”
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