Radio host says he was fired without full investigation; station - KPTV - FOX 12

Radio host says he was fired without full investigation; station says otherwise

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Garrison Keillor, the former host of "A Prairie Home Companion," said he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen, File) Garrison Keillor, the former host of "A Prairie Home Companion," said he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Garrison Keillor says Minnesota Public Radio (MPR( was wrong to fire him last week without fully investigating what a senior executive has described as "multiple allegations" spanning an extended period against the former "A Prairie Home Companion" host.

But MPR is refuting that claim, saying they "carefully investigated" complaints from two people of "inappropriate behavior" by Garrison Keillor before it terminated its contracts with the creator of "A Prairie Home Companion."

In a statement to The Associated Press Thursday, MPR said the complaints came from two people formerly associated with the show. It says they alleged "multiple incidents," though only one claimed the behavior was directed at her.

MPR says it hasn't released details because the two want to keep their names private.

Keillor, who retired as host of the show in 2016, told the AP Wednesday night that MPR shouldn't have dismissed him without a "full and fair investigation."

Jon McTaggart, CEO of MPR's parent company American Public Media Group, addressed the issue at an employee meeting Wednesday. McTaggart didn't provide details of the allegations against the 75-year-old veteran broadcaster, saying only that he has shared them with lawyers and board members.

MPR News reporters refused to attend the meeting because its contents had been declared off the record, but they compiled a report based on interviews with colleagues who did.

[Related: Garrison Keillor fired, says he put hand on woman's back]

In a statement Thursday morning, MPR insisted it conducted a proper review. The statement said two people formerly associated with the show alleged "multiple incidents of inappropriate behavior" by Keillor, though only one claimed the behavior was directed at her. The station said it hasn't made additional details public because the two want privacy.

"The allegations were carefully investigated before MPR made the decision to terminate contracts with Mr. Keillor," the statement said.

Keillor announced Nov. 30 that MPR had terminated his contracts after four decades of entertaining public radio listeners with tales of small-town characters. He said he was fired over "a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard." Keillor didn't provide details to the Associated Press but later told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had put his hand on a woman's bare back as he tried to console her.

Keillor retired as host of "A Prairie Home Companion" in 2016 but had continued to work for MPR on various projects.

McTaggart said Wednesday that no one else in the company knows the content of the "multiple allegations" against Keillor that span an extended period of time.

Keillor told the Associated Press in an email later Wednesday that he was not at the meeting hosted by McTaggart, so he couldn't provide details of what was said. But he expressed disappointment at the company's response to the allegations.

"I expect to deal with MPR soon to try to fix the enormous mistake they have made by not conducting a full and fair investigation," he said.

Keillor's attorney emailed a statement to AP early Thursday stressing that they know of allegations made by "one individual."

"We trust that Mr. McTaggart will set the record straight in this respect to avoid any misperceptions on that point," Eric Nilsson said in the statement.

Keillor said he wants the matter to be resolved quickly and "with it expects a full restoration of his reputation," Nilsson said.

"A Prairie Home Companion" continues with Keillor's hand-picked successor, mandolinist Chris Thile.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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