'My hand went up about six inches': A defiant Garrison Keillor claims accidentally touching a woman's bare back during a hug is the reason he was fired from MPR

  • The former host of MPR's 'A Prairie Home Companion' confirmed he was let go
  • MPR said that it made the move following a single allegation of 'inappropriate behavior' was brought to their attention
  • Keillor later said in a statement that he put his hand on a woman's back
  • Keillor seemed resigned to his fate, calling his sudden sacking an 'honor'?
  • The day before his firing, ?Keillor posted a column in the Washington Post defending embattled US Senator Al Franken ?
  • Keillor went on a 28-city bus tour this summer, vowing it would be his last tour

Garrison Keillor, the former host of 'A Prairie Home Companion,' said Wednesday he has been fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior.

In an email sent to the Star Tribune?on Wednesday, Keillor appeared to seesaw from serious to lighthearted about the sacking, remarking that the incident occurred after he attempted to console an unspecified female acquaintance. ?

'I put my hand on a woman's bare back. I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches,' Keillor recalled in the statement.

Garrison Keillor, the former host of 'A Prairie Home Companion,' fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior

Garrison Keillor, the former host of 'A Prairie Home Companion,' fired by Minnesota Public Radio over allegations of improper behavior

Writer Garrison Keillor married his third wife?Lind Nilsson (pictured) in 1995, ?who gave birth to their daughter two years later

'She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called.'?

Keillor added that he viewed firing as an 'honor,' and was proud to follow in the footsteps of his 'heroes.'?

'Getting fired is a real distinction in broadcasting and I've waited fifty years for the honor. All of my heroes got fired. I only wish it could've been for something more heroic,' he said.?

Keillor and his first wife, Mary Guntzel (pictured 1965), divorced in 1975 shortly after giving birth to his first child, Jason ??

Keillor and his first wife, Mary Guntzel (pictured 1965), divorced in 1975 shortly after giving birth to his first child, Jason ??

The 75-year-old appeared to blame the incident on a self-described socially awkward demeanor, but seemed resigned in the wake of his sudden ouster from MPR.?

?'Anyone who ever was around my show can tell you that I was the least physically affectionate person in the building. Actors hug, musicians hug, people were embracing every Saturday night left and right, and I stood off in the corner like a stone statue.'

'If I had a dollar for every woman who asked to take a selfie with me and who slipped an arm around me and let it drift down below the beltline, I'd have at least a hundred dollars. So this is poetic irony of a high order. But I'm just fine. I had a good long run and am grateful for it and for everything else,' he added. ?

Keillor also told The Associated Press of his firing in an email. In a follow-up statement, he said he was fired over 'a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.'

'It's some sort of poetic irony to be knocked off the air by a story, having told so many of them myself, but I'm 75 and don't have any interest in arguing about this. And I cannot in conscience bring danger to a great organization I've worked hard for since 1969,' Keillor said.

Keilor was born on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota (pictured) and earned an English degree from the University of Minnesota in 1966

Keilor was born on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota (pictured) and earned an English degree from the University of Minnesota in 1966

'A person could not hope for more than what I was given,' he said.?

Minnesota Public Radio confirmed Keillor had been fired, saying it received a single allegation of 'inappropriate behavior' and doesn't know of any other similar allegations.?

'Based on what we currently know, there are no similar allegations involving other staff,' MPR said, noting the alleged incident occurred last month.?

'The attorney leading the independent investigation has been conducting interviews and reviewing documents, and the investigation is still ongoing,' MPR added.?

Keillor retired as host of his long-running public radio variety show in 2016.?

His hand-picked successor, mandolinist Chris Thile, is in his second season as 'Prairie Home' host.

The firing comes just one day after the Washington Post published?a new op-ed by Keillor, an avowed Democrat, defending Al Franken, called 'Al Franken should resign? That's absurd.'?

Keillor started his Saturday evening show featuring tales of his fictional Minnesota hometown of Lake Wobegon - 'where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average' - in 1974.?

Garrison Keillor and daughter Maia Grace (pictured) during Premiere Parade for Picturehouse's "A Prairie Home Companion" at Fitzgeral Theatre in St. Paul, MN?

Garrison Keillor and daughter Maia Grace (pictured) during Premiere Parade for Picturehouse's 'A Prairie Home Companion' at Fitzgeral Theatre in St. Paul, MN?

The show featured musical acts, folksy humor, parody ads for fake products such as Powdermilk Biscuits and the centerpiece, Keillor delivering a seemingly off-the-cuff monologue, 'The News From Lake Wobegon,' in his rich baritone voice.

Keillor bowed out with a final show at the Hollywood Bowl in July 2016 and turned the show over to Thile, a mandolinist and frequent 'Prairie Home' guest musician.?

Garrison Keillor performs at Iroquois Amphitheater on September 7, 2017 in Louisville, Kentucky

Keilor was born on August 7, 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota and earned an English degree from the University of Minnesota in 1966.?

The former radio personality and author has been married three times, with his son Jason being born in 1969 by his first wife Mary Guntzel. They divorced after 11 years of marriage in 1976.?

He later married Ulla Skaerved, a former exchange student from Denmark that attended his high school, from 1985 to 1990.??

In 1995, Keilor married violist Jenny Lind Nilsson, with whom he had a daughter, Maia Grace Keillor, two years later.?

Keillor went on a 28-city bus tour this summer, vowing it would be his last tour, but he continues on the road with solo shows.

Keillor still produces the radio show, 'The Writer's Almanac,' for syndication, and is finishing a Lake Wobegon screenplay and a memoir about growing up in Minnesota.

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