Allegations of inappropriate behavior by Garrison Keillor were more substantial than indicated in November when Minnesota Public Radio severed ties with him, according to a letter the network sent its members on Tuesday.
The letter from the network’s president, Jon McTaggart, said that MPR received a 12-page correspondence on Oct. 22 from the lawyer for a woman who had worked with Mr. Keillor on “A Prairie Home Companion” that described “dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents directed at her client over a period of years.”
The woman’s lawyer detailed “many of the alleged incidents, including excerpts from emails and written messages, requests for sexual contact and explicit descriptions of sexual communications and touching,” according to Mr. McTaggart. The woman has not publicly identified herself.
It was her allegations that prompted the network to open an independent investigation. “We told Garrison that we were doing so,” Mr. McTaggart said.
When the network dropped Mr. Keillor, it did not offer details beyond saying that there had been allegations of “inappropriate behavior.”
At the time, Mr. Keillor indicated that the allegations related to an incident in which he said he had put his hand on a colleague’s bare back. He said he had offered her an apology later, which he said she accepted.
But in his letter on Tuesday, Mr. McTaggart wrote, “In the allegations she provided to MPR, she did not allege that Garrison touched her back, but did claim that he engaged in other unwanted sexual touching.”
The network said that before it decided to sever ties with Mr. Keillor, he was informed of the claims and responded to them with his lawyer present.
It also said that its lawyers tried multiple times to access Mr. Keillor’s computer, emails and text messages to aid in the investigation, but were unable to do so.
“To date, all requests to review Garrison’s emails and texts related to this matter have been refused by Garrison or his attorneys,” Mr. McTaggart said.
Mr. Keillor, 75, in a statement emailed to The New York Times late Tuesday, painted a far different picture of the allegations and MPR’s investigation of them. He said that MPR’s letter to listeners “was in response to a blizzard of anger, all of it richly deserved, after MPR expunged shows that people loved.”
Mr. Keillor said that the woman whose lawyer filed the complaint remained friendly with him after the alleged incident; that the complaint drawn up by her lawyer was “a highly selective and imaginitive piece of work”; and that MPR had “depended on the complaint, it never spoke with me or to the complainant.”
(Excerpt) Read More in: The New York Times