Garrison Keillor’s Accuser Described ‘Dozens’ of Offenses Over ‘Period of Years’


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.”

“If I am guilty of harassment, then every employee who stole a pencil is guilty of embezzlement,” Mr. Keillor said. “I’m an honest fiction writer and I will tell this story in a novel.”

In MPR’s letter, Mr. McTaggart said the network had received two formal complaints alleging bad behavior by Mr. Keillor in the workplace. One was from the unnamed woman who said the behavior was directed at her, and the other was from someone who claimed to know about some of the alleged behavior, the letter states.

MPR’s letter sought to address concerns and questions from listeners, and MPR did praise Mr. Keillor for his many accomplishments, possibly to avoid another backlash.

One question asked if MPR had “unfairly tarnished” Mr. Keillor’s reputation; another asked why MPR was “so ungrateful to Garrison for his many years of service.”

Mr. McTaggart responded by saying: “Garrison is one of the most talented, creative, generous and hard-working people I’ve ever met. We are deeply grateful for all that he has done for MPR, for Minnesota and for our country.”

“We have not released the letter because of our commitment to protecting the privacy of those involved, including Garrison,” he said.

Angie Andresen, an MPR spokeswoman, said that about 890 station memberships had been canceled in the wake of the initial decision but that approximately 250 people had increased their donations because of it. The network has about 133,000 members, she said.

In a statement that Mr. Keillor provided to The New York Times in November, he said: “I’ve been fired over a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard. Most stories are.”

Over four decades, Mr. Keillor had created a financial juggernaut for the radio network with “A Prairie Home Companion,” his weekly broadcast of songs, skits and tales of his fictional hometown Lake Wobegon — along with related books, recordings and other products.

In November, MPR announced it would no longer distribute and broadcast Mr. Keillor’s remaining programs, “The Writer’s Almanac” and “The Best of a Prairie Home Companion Hosted by Garrison Keillor.”

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