Garrison Keillor says Minnesota Public Radio was wrong to fire him last week without fully investigating what a top executive has described as "multiple accusations" against the former "A Prairie Home Companion" presenter spanning an extended period of time.
Jon McTaggart, CEO of the parent company of MPR, American Public Media Group, addressed the issue at an employee meeting on Wednesday. McTaggart did not provide details of the accusations against the 75-year-old veteran broadcaster, saying only that he shared them with lawyers and board members.
MPR reporters refused to attend the meeting because their content had been declared off-tape, but they compiled a report based on interviews with colleagues who did. APMG does not plan to issue a statement about the meeting.
Keillor announced on November 30 that MPR had rescinded its contracts after four decades of entertaining public radio listeners with tales of small-town characters. He said he was fired for "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version that MPR heard." Keillor did not provide details to the Associated Press, but later told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had placed his hand on a woman's bare back while trying to comfort her.
Last week, an MPR spokeswoman said the company had received multiple allegations of "inappropriate behavior" against Keillor involving a person who worked with him during his time as host of "A Prairie Home Companion." Keillor retired as a presenter of the program in 2016, but continued working for MPR on several projects.
McTaggart said on Wednesday that only he knew the content of the "multiple accusations" against Keillor that spanned an extended period of time.  Keillor told the Associated Press in an email on Wednesday that he was not at the meeting organized by McTaggart, so he could not provide details of what was said. But he expressed disappointment over the company's response to the allegations.
"I hope to deal with MPR soon to try to repair the huge mistake they have made by not conducting a full and fair investigation," he said.
Keillor's attorney emailed a statement to the AP early Thursday and emphasized that they knew of the allegations made by "an individual."
"We are confident that Mr. McTaggart will clarify things in this regard to avoid any misperception on that point," Eric Nilsson said in the statement.
Keillor wants a quick resolution of the matter and "with him he expects a complete restoration of his reputation," Nilsson said.
"The Prairie Home Companion" continues with Keillor's hand-picked successor, mandolinist Chris Thile.
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