On Wednesday afternoon, Garrison Keillor, the man who created “A Prairie Home Companion” in 1974, was fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of inappropriate behavior. Keillor broke the news himself, according to the Associated Press.
Keillor’s dismissal comes during a wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations against men in media. Keillor announced his dismissal less than six hours after NBC announced that it had fired longtime personality and “TODAY” anchor Matt Lauer. Lauer was fired one week after CBS and PBS fired Charlie Rose.
On Tuesday night, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Keillor in which the humorist and radio host excused allegations of sexual assault against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) as poor comedy.
“He did USO tours overseas when he was in the comedy biz. He did it from deep in his heart, out of patriotism, and the show he did was broad comedy of a sort that goes back to the Middle Ages. Shakespeare used those jokes now and then, and so did Bob Hope and Joey Heatherton when they entertained the troops,” Keillor wrote.
“On the flight home, in a spirit of low comedy, Al ogled Miss Tweeden and pretended to grab her and a picture was taken. Eleven years later, a talk show host in LA, she goes public, and there is talk of resignation. This is pure absurdity, and the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness. No kidding,” he continued.
In a statement to the media, Minnesota Public radio announced they would scrubbing all previous broadcasts with Keillor’s name, and renaming his iconic show.
“Last month, MPR was notified of the allegations which relate to Mr. Keillor’s conduct while he was responsible for the production of A Prairie Home Companion,” the station wrote.
“MPR President Jon McTaggart immediately informed the MPR Board Chair, and a special Board committee was appointed to provide oversight and ongoing counsel. In addition, MPR retained an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations. Based on what we currently know, there are no similar allegations involving other staff.”