“You shouldn’t be friends with a colleague, it’s dangerous”

Nor his 2016 retirement from A Prairie Home Companion Nor has a scandal the following year in which Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) cut ties with the radio host amid allegations of sexual misconduct slowed Garrison Keillor down. Approaching his 80th birthday, the comedian is back in the spotlight thanks to two new books (Serenity at 70, Joy at 80: Why You Should Keep Getting Old and the novel Boom Town: A Wobegon Lake), a series of tour dates and an interview with CBS Sunday Morning News in which he reflects on being called out during the #MeToo movement.

“#MeToo was a very noble undertaking to fight bullies,” Keillor, 79, tells CBS correspondent Anthony Mason. “There are bullies and I am in favor of fighting them, I am not one.”

In November 2017, Keillor was fired from MPR, which broadcast A Prairie Home Companion Y a writer’s almanac, after the married writer and radio personality was accused of sexual misconduct by a colleague. Email exchanges between him and the woman, a researcher who described Keillor as a “mentor and employer” who “had power over me,” see him referencing sexual dreams about her. In his interview, Keillor insists that he and the woman had a “mutual flirtation” and “friendship” that was deemed problematic only because “the culture changed.” He now sees it as “dangerous” to be friends with women in the workplace.

“There was no kissing, there was no hugging, it was a kind of flirtation that thousands of people did before me, and I hope they take my case as a warning that you shouldn’t do it,” says Keillor, who previously blamed his dismissal. him touching a woman’s bare back as he tried to comfort her. “You shouldn’t be friends with a colleague, it’s dangerous. You should never lay your hand on a colleague, ever, it’s dangerous.”

Garrison Keillor (pictured at a 2017 presentation) talks about his firing after allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior. (Photo: Al Pereira/WireImage)

Keillor says he “would have been grateful” if he had been confronted in person about “the effect” his sexual references and unwanted touching were having. When Mason presses him on whether he “crossed the line”, he suggests that he didn’t do anything others haven’t.

“I crossed the line in a way that if you were to fire everyone else who had crossed the line, there would be no staff left,” he says. “And there would be no management. The culture changed.”

He calls signing a nondisclosure agreement as part of their settlement a “terrible, terrible mistake,” noting that “a person should never give up their right to tell their side of the story.”

While she acknowledges that retiring before the accusations came to light made it easier, she is angry that MPR ended its business ties, which subsequently conducted an investigation that found a “year-long pattern of behavior that left several women who worked for Keillor. feel abused, sexualized or belittled,” according to MPR News.

“I worked for the company for 40 years and they fired me with one phone call,” says the Minnesota native. “The phone call took about a minute and a half. There was no ‘thank you’.”

Keillor now says he doesn’t care what people think of him, adding: “I’m not going to do a survey on my reputation, my public image or anything… I have friends and family, and there are a certain number of people who still love to go out and hear about Lake Wobegon. And that’s enough. What more do you want?”

He also balks at using the word “victim,” telling Mason, “I’ve met too many people who really are victims, and I’m not.”

Leave a Comment