Garrison Keillor firing prompts backlash from his fans

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Outraged Garrison Keillor fans deluged Minnesota Public Radio Thursday with complaints about the firing of the humorist over alleged workplace misconduct.

Some say they will no longer support MPR, one of the nation’s largest public radio operations, which depends heavily on financial contributions.

MPR said Wednesday it was cutting ties with Keillor, creator and former host of the popular public radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” over an allegation of workplace misconduct. The network did not give details, but Keillor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he had put his hand on a woman’s bare back while trying to console her.

On Thursday, MPR repeated that it had received just one formal complaint against Keillor, a day after a statement by him raised questions about the extent of the allegations.

Keillor told MPR’s news department in an email that two employees had made allegations. MPR spokeswoman Angie Andresen, asked to clear up the discrepancy, said the network has “a formal complaint from an individual that includes multiple allegations related to Garrison’s behavior.”

Keillor told The Associated Press in an email Thursday evening that one person had brought a claim against MPR and one person had brought a claim against him. He says he hasn’t seen the allegations against him and that his account to the Star Tribune was the only incident he could remember.

Andresen didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Keillor’s statement.

Meanwhile, MPR News reported that many people were angered at Keillor’s dismissal and dozens planned to cancel their memberships.

Bridget George of Anoka says she wants a fuller explanation from the network. She said Keillor spoke at a fundraiser at her church last year and is a “kind, caring, compassionate person.”

“I think a lot of politics go into these decisions,” George said. “I would be curious to know what other things were going on that might have motivated the board to take that action.”

More than 400 people had expressed themselves through MPR’s Public Insight Network within 24 hours of the news breaking. Discussions on the MPR News Facebook page had generated more than 25,000 words, enough to fill a 100-page book.

“We understand that some listeners are upset and know that the limited information we’ve made available at this time may not seem to justify such a consequential decision,” said Angie Andresen, a spokeswoman for MPR and APM. “We want to assure that this decision honors the…

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