In the last two months, the country has read a lot of apology statements from famous men who were caught behaving badly toward women.
This week, it got two more: one from ousted Todayhost Matt Lauer, who admitted, "There is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed" and another from fired public radio star Garrison Keillor, whose remarks sounded defiant by comparison.
In an email to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Keillor, 75, reported, "I'm doing fine. Getting fired is a real distinction in broadcasting and I've waited 50 years for the honor. All of my heroes got fired. I only wish it could've been for something more heroic."
He went on to explain one of the two allegations of "improper behavior" lodged against him: "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. 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."
Then things took a weird turn, as Keillor used his own annoyance at being touched as a defense, not unlike when President Trump used his germaphobia as a defense against the more salacious allegations in the opposition-research dossier put together by a former British intelligence officer last year.
"Anyone who ever was around my show can tell you that I was the least physically affection person in the building," Keillor claimed. "Actors hug, musicians hug, people were embracing every Saturday night left and right, and I stood off in the corner like a stone statue."
He continued, "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."
He concluded, "But I'm just fine. I had a good long run and am grateful for it and for everything else."
In a Wednesday statement confirming Keillor's firing, MPR communications director Angie Andresen said, “Last month, MPR was notified of the allegations, which relate to Mr. Keillor's conduct while he was responsible for the production of A Prairie Home Companion."
From there, MPR President Jon McTaggart initiated an independent investigation using an outside law firm.
"Based on what we currently know, there are no similar allegations involving other staff," Andresen said. "The attorney leading the independent investigation has been conducting interviews and reviewing documents, and the investigation is still ongoing."
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