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Garrison Keillor Fired Day After Op-Ed Defending Al Franken

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Former Minnesota Public Radio host Garrison Keillor defended embattled Senator Al Franken against sexual harassment allegations, just one day before he was fired over similar allegations.

In a Washington Post op-ed published November 28, Keillor described calls for Franken to resign as “pure absurdity.” “…the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness. No kidding,” he wrote. He also implicitly questioned why Leann Tweeden, the first women to come forward with an allegation against Franken, would publicize her story 11 years after it happened, and only after she became a radio host.

On November 29, Keillor, who hosted “A Prairie Home Companion,” told the Associated Press he had been fired from Minnesota Public Radio following allegations of improper behavior. Although Keillor did not detail the allegations, he told the AP there was “a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard.”

MPR said in a statement that the organization had terminated its contract with Keillor, and had retained a law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the claims, which allegedly occurred while he was helming A Prairie Home Companion. The investigation is still ongoing.

Four women in total have come forward with harassment allegations against Franken, prompting calls for his resignation and an investigation from the Senate ethics committee into his conduct. Franken has said he will continue to serve in the Senate.

“I’m committed to working as hard as I can here in the Senate for the people of Minnesota. The ethics committee will be looking into all of this and I will work with them in any way I can,” he told Minnesota Public Radio Sunday.

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Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com