Garrison Keillor’s successor addresses scandal

During this weekend’s episode of “A Prairie Home Companion,” host Chris Thile addressed the elephant in the room.

“Before we begin the show today, I want to take a moment to address something which you’ve probably heard about by now, which is NPR severing ties with Garrison Keillor over allegations of inappropriate behavior,” Thile said. “This is, of course, heartbreaking news.”

Keillor, the creator of “A Prairie Home Companion,” had long been a fixture on public radio.

Last week, Minnesota Public Radio said it was terminating its contracts with Keillor and his private media companies, citing “allegations of his inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him.”

Thile, who took over hosting duties on “A Prairie Home Companion” from Keillor in 2016, spoke of how the show helped shape him and reflected on what has been happening recently with women coming forward to reveal stories of sexual assault, abuse and harassment.

“Today we are in the middle of a national movement, which I believe represents progress,” he said. “We’re recognizing the harmful power imbalance that women have had to endure for so long in our culture. My sincere hope is that with awareness will come improvement.”

Minnesota Public Radio hasn’t stated specifically what the accusations against Keillor were.

For his part, the 75 year-old former host said in a statement last week that he “had been fired over a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.”

“I cannot in conscience bring danger to a great organization I’ve worked hard for since 1969,” Keillor wrote in the statement posted on his site. “I am sorry for all the poets whose work I won’t be reading on the radio and sorry for the people who will lose work on account of this. But my profound feeling is that of gratitude, especially to my wife Jenny, and for this painful experience that has brought us even closer together.”