Garrison Keillor's Pittsfield show cancelled amid allegations

November 30, 2017 10:34 AM

PITTSFIELD – Allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior have cast a shadow over long-time NPR host, Garrison Keillor. 

‘I'm amazed I'll leave it at that,” said Frank Voyack of Cheshire, MA.

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“Well we're upset that it was canceled,” said Pittsfield resident, Linda Ross. 

Ross, Voyack and other fans of Keillor who had tickets to see him in concert at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield Wednesday night found themselves out of luck. 

The show was cancelled amid reports of inappropriate behavior by Keillor towards a female co-worker. 

Alan Chartock, who is president of WAMC Northeast Public Radio - a sponsor of the concert before the news, said his station pulled out of the performance after the allegations became public Wednesday.

“We didn't want to send a bad message that in any way we supported inappropriate behavior,” Chartock said. 

Keillor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he touched a woman's bare back while he tried to console her and apologized when she recoiled.

Minnesota Public Radio fired Keillor over the allegations, which were made last month. 

The NPR member station has terminated their contracts with him and they are no longer running his programs like his old broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion.

“Well it certainly will hurt us,” Chartock said. “I'll tell you that right now. Not because people drop shots on just the radio stations. But because it was a wonderful program.”
Jack Cowler, who also had tickets to see Keillor in concert Wednesday night, said the allegations against him are not as bad as those against as other public figures like Harvey Weinstein.

“The accusations against Garrison, it seems to be one and it seems to be fairly mild,” Cowler said. 

“Everybody wants to charge everybody that is popular or has a name for themselves with sexual abuse. It's too much now,” Ross said. 

Ross and her husband, Tom, wonder why Keillor’s accuser waited so long to come forward.  

“It behooves the schools and parents to teach women how to respond to stupidness by men,” said Tom Ross.

In a statement Minnesota Public Radio President, Jon McTaggart said, “Garrison Keillor has been an important part of the growth and success of MPR, and all of us in the MPR community are saddened by these circumstances.”
MPR and its owner, American Public Media, also said they will not distribute or broadcast The Writer's Almanac, which Keillor hosts.

New episodes of A Prairie Home Companion - now hosted by Chris Thile - will be given a new name.


WNYT Staff

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