courtesy AllAccess.com January 24, 2018
MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO broke its silence on the specifics of GARRISON KEILLOR’s exit from the public radio company and “A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION,” issuing an open letter from President JON MCTAGGART to listeners TUESDAY *(1/23) that indicated more allegations were made than KEILLOR has said in public.
In a question-and-answer format, MCTAGGART answered the question of whether MPR had overreacted to what KEILLOR has called a single incident of accidentally touching the back of a female employee by saying that she did not allege that incident but “did claim that he engaged in other unwanted sexual touching” in an OCTOBER 22, 2017 letter from her attorney. The 12-page letter “described dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents directed at her client over a period of years,” MCTAGGART wrote, “including excerpts of emails and written messages, requests for sexual contact and explicit descriptions of sexual communications and touching.” MCTAGGART, noting that the company undertook an independent investigation of the claims, added that “If the full 12-page letter or even a detailed summary of the alleged incidents were to be made public, we believe that would clarify why MPR ended its business relationship with GARRISON and correct the misunderstandings and misinformation about the decision. We have not released the letter because of our commitment to protecting the privacy of those involved, including GARRISON.”
MCTAGGART said that the company did not know of the allegations until late AUGUST, “when a former MPR employee brought them to our attention in a general way.” He wrote that the company asked KEILLOR and his attorney “multiple times” for access to KEILLOR’s computer, emails, and texts and were rebuffed. As for the termination, MCTAGGART said that the company has “gone to great lengths to be considerate of GARRISON’s privacy and his reputation,” but after a phone conversation in which MCTAGGART asked KEILLOR for a “careful transition,” KEILLOR “emailed the media claiming he was ‘fired’ by MPR. Since then, GARRISON has posted statements to social media and provided information to reporters that have not been fully accurate and have suggested that MPR did not handle these matters thoughtfully.”
In the letter, MCTAGGART also praised KEILLOR as “one of the most talented, creative, generous and hard-working people I’ve ever met” but noted that mediation to reach agreements on the separation “have not produced the final settlements we had hoped for.”
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