TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former “Prairie Home Companion” radio show host Garrison Keillor was set to headline a show in Tarrytown on Friday, but the show has now been canceled.
As WCBS 80’s Mike Smeltz reported, the cancellation came after Keillor was fired from Minnesota Public Radio due to allegations of inappropriate behavior.
The events are booked months if not years in advance, and tickets are sold way ahead time — making it difficult to find the perfect balance over how to react to allegations like those against Keillor when those allegations are revealed publically just two days before the show.
Keillor’s show at the Tarrytown Music Hall have now been canceled, with the Hall’s Executive Director Bjorn Olsson saying in an email he thinks this solution emerged as the sensible thing to do – at least for now.
All ticketholders will be refunded the price of their ticket.
Keillor told The Associated Press of his firing in an email on Wednesday. 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.”
He did not detail the allegation to AP, but told the Minneapolis Star Tribune he had put his hand on a woman’s bare back when trying to console her. He told the paper that she recoiled and he apologized and that everything was fine between the two until her lawyer called.
Keillor later told MPR News that two employees had made allegations.
MPR said only that it received a single allegation of “inappropriate behavior” against Keillor last month.
Keillor was also scheduled to appear through Sunday at theaters in Torrington, Connecticut, and in Ithaca and Buffalo, New York, with the folk duo Robin and Linda Williams. But the websites for those theaters say the shows are canceled.
Keillor also was set to appear Wednesday night at a theater in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but that show was also canceled.
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 shortly after Keillor, an avowed Democrat, wrote a syndicated column that ridiculed the idea that Minnesota Sen. Al Franken should resign over allegations of sexual harassment.
Besides other media figures such as Matt Lauer and CBS’ Charlie Rose, others felled by sexual misconduct charges include Lauer’s former NBC News colleague Mark Halperin, former Fox News prime-time host Bill O’Reilly and National Public Radio newsroom chief Michael Oreskes. The New York Times suspended White House correspondent Glenn Thrush last week.
Keillor started his Saturday evening show in 1974, 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.”
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. Keillor went on a 28-city bus tour this summer, vowing it would be his last tour, but he has continuesdon the road with solo shows.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)