Following the announcement that Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) was terminating all contracts with famed host Garrison Keillor over sexual misconduct allegations, Keillor revealed Wednesday that he put his hand up a woman’s shirt – but that she forgave him after he apologized.
The 75-year-old host of shows like “A Prairie Home Companion” and “The Writer’s Almanac” released a statement addressing the accusations just after sharing details to the Minneapolis Star Tribune about his alleged misconduct.
"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,” he told the outlet in an email Monday. “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.”
In a more official statement on the matter, Keillor avoided directly apologizing to the woman in question. Instead, he opted for more of a farewell to the business.
“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,” Keillor wrote in a statement on his website. “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.”
Keillor even went as far as to joke about his situation to the Tribune.
“Getting fired is a real distinction in broadcasting and I've waited fifty years for the honor. All of my heroes got fired. I only wish it could've been for something more heroic."
As previously reported, MPR retained an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations once it learned about them last month. It found no similar allegations involving Keillor and other staff members.