Radio show host resurfaces for live broadcasts despite sexual harassment scandal

Garrison Keillor, the creator of A Prairie Housemate, is back on tour for live shows, nearly five years after facing a sexual harassment scandal. In November 2017, Minnesota Public Radio severed ties with Keillor after receiving a report of alleged inappropriate behavior with a woman who worked with him. Keillor’s solo tour includes a stop at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on July 10.

Keillor, 79, was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with a female employee on his show, leading MPR to cut ties with its biggest star. Keillor also lost its weekly Washington Post column and MPR cut ties with PrairieHome.org and stopped distributing its show The Writer’s Almanac. Keillor and MPR settled the matter out of court, and the records of A Prairie Housemate and The Wrier’s Almanac were once again available online. Despite the changing perception of his career, Keillor began working on his comeback. In April, he publishes Boom Town: A Wobegon Lake Novel.

“For me, it’s not worth thinking about,” Keillor told the StarTribune recently asked about his detractors. “It’s five years. If people still see it as a problem, that’s up to them.” In an interview with the Wabash Plain Dealer, Keillor called his scandal a “shakedown” and insisted that the original complaint was filed by a contractor who had not received compensation. However, a MPR News An investigation published in January 2018 revealed multiple allegations of “inappropriate behavior”, beyond that which led to the severing of ties with MPR.

“It is what it is. And there is no way to defend yourself in this atmosphere. #MeToo, the motto was women must be believed. And so the women who made the accusation did not never been cross-examined. They were never questioned by anyone,” Keillor told the Wabash Plain Dealer. “They made their statements and they wanted anonymity. And they wanted money. And an insurance company paid the money and then MPR said something that I had been inappropriate and I don’t know what they meant by that. first page of the New York Times. And that will end your career.”

Notably, Keillor’s schedule does not include stops in Minneapolis or St. Paul. Its chief executive, Kate Gustafson Sanderson, told the StarTribune she thinks most of his critics don’t think he should be performing in the Twin Cities, so he avoids them.

“There’s a strong vocal minority that feels like they’re on a mission to stick it on us, and you can’t answer every question they have. They’ve made up their minds,” Sanderson said. “We say, ‘Trust us’, but what can you do? We don’t want to dismiss the Me Too movement. It’s critically important. But if you knew everything, we just don’t adapt to it. not.”

Keillor will stop at the Ryman Auditorium on July 10. While some of his other small town stops have been solo shows, the Nashville date is billed as A Prairie Home Companion American Revival, starring Aoife O’Donovan, Joe Newberry, Heather Masse, Rich Dworsky, Sam Bush, Pat Donohue, Fred Newman, Tim Russell and others join him. This is his first Ryman appearance since splitting from MPR. Tickets for the show go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. on Ryman’s website.

Javier E. Swan