Garrison Keillor Fired From Minnesota Public Radio After Accusation of Improper Behavior

Former “A Prairie Home Companion” host says his firing is “more complicated” than believed

Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor, the former host of “A Prairie Home Companion,” has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over accusations of “improper behavior.”

Keillor told the Associated Press of his firing over email. The 75-year-old added he was axed over a “story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.” Keillor and MPR did not expand on the accusations that led to his firing.

Minnesota Public Radio said in a statement it had fired Keillor after retaining an outside law firm to investigate the allegations.

“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 (APHC). MPR President Jon McTaggart immediately informed the MPR Board Chair, and a special Board committee was appointed to provide oversight and ongoing counsel,” read the statement. “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. The attorney leading the independent investigation has been conducting interviews and reviewing documents, and the investigation is still ongoing.”

Seen by many as the Johnny Carson of public radio, Keillor started his Saturday variety show in 1974, and hosted until handing off the program to Chris Thile last year. “A Prairie Home Companion,” was often set in the fictional town of Lake Wobegon — “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” The show blended humor, musical acts, and parody, with Keillor at the helm.

It also inspired 2006’s “Prairie Home Companion,” the last film directed by Robert Altman.

MPR said in its statement it will immediately “end its business relationships” with Keillor, who was still producing “The Writer’s Almanac.” MPR will also stop rebroadcasting episodes of “Prairie Home” hosted by Keillor, and will be changing the name of the current show hosted by Thile.

“Garrison Keillor has been an important part of the growth and success of MPR, and all of us in the MPR community are saddened by these circumstances,” said MPR President John McTaggart in a statement. “While we appreciate the contributions Garrison has made to MPR and to all of public radio, we believe this decision is the right thing to do and is necessary to continue to earn the trust of our audiences, employees and supporters of our public service.”