Tales from Lake Wobegon often feature a wry twist, but there was nothing amusing about the shocking turn that threatens to permanently stain Garrison Keillor’s reputation.
Minnesota Public Radio severed ties with its biggest name in November, saying the legendary broadcaster allegedly had exhibited “inappropriate behavior” toward a co-worker.
Nationally, the story took a back seat to the firing of longtime “Today” show host Matt Lauer, revealed the same day the architect of “A Prairie Home Companion” disclosed that he had been dropped. Accusations had already been aimed at other media figures including Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and Kevin Spacey, creating such an impact that Time magazine named the “Silence Breakers” as its Persons of the Year.
But locally, it was Keillor who dominated coffee-shop conversation: Was he just another bigwig creep who got what he deserved or was he railroaded in a sloppy investigation?
In a series of e-mails to the Star Tribune, Keillor ardently defended himself, providing some details behind the allegations. MPR? Not so much. Until more is known about the accusations, this story isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. In the meantime, all of Keillor’s personal appearances have been canceled, as has his weekday series “The Writer’s Almanac.” His hand-picked replacement behind the “Prairie Home” microphone, Chris Thile, has renamed the show “Live From Here.”
Not the boldest of titles, but maybe safe and predictable is just what fans of the St. Paul-based program need right now.