Culture

The Corner

Sometimes We Just Have to Say, ‘I Don’t Believe You.’

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt…

Sometimes We Just Have to Say, ‘I Don’t Believe You.’

Let’s take a good look at Garrison Keillor’s version of events that led to his dismissal from Minnesota Public Radio.

“I put my hand on a woman’s bare back,” he told the Star Tribune by e-mail minutes after MPR’s statement. “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.”

Wait, he aimed to pat her on the back, and somehow accidentally put his hand six inches up her shirt? Really?

And then this woman claimed to accept his apology, and secretly went to Minnesota Public Radio to complain?

And then in response to this entirely innocent and innocuous gesture, Minnesota Public Radio – which Keillor more or less built after 50 years – discounted his version of events and reacted as if he had been identified as the Zodiac Killer?

MPR will end its business relationships with Mr. Keillor’s media companies effective immediately. By terminating the contracts, MPR and American Public Media (APM) will:

* end distribution and broadcast of The Writer’s Almanac and rebroadcasts of The Best of A Prairie Home Companion hosted by Garrison Keillor;

* change the name of APM’s weekly music and variety program hosted by Chris Thile; and,

* separate from the Pretty Good Goods online catalog and the PrairieHome.org website.

Maybe we’re in a recurrence of the Spanish Inquisition, where innocent and well-meaning 75-year-old insufferably smug progressive radio personalities are targeted by vicious women, eager to paint their reassuring gestures as a horrible assault. Perhaps that explains Al Franken’s insistence that his hand may have accidentally brushed against a woman’s behind while taking photos, and that somehow these women are misremembering it as a full-fledged aggressive grope.

But then Keillor went even further: “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 belt line, I’d have at least a hundred dollars.”

I’m sorry. I’m just not buying that a hundred women have met Garrison Keillor, taken one whiff of his musky raw masculinity, and found themselves overcome with lust and unable to resist the urge to feel his tush or other places.

Speaking of Franken…

Stephanie Kemplin, 41, of Maineville, Ohio, is the fifth woman in two weeks to accuse Franken of inappropriate touching, and the second person to allege that such behavior took place while Franken was on a USO tour. Three of the five women have been identified by name.

Kemplin said while she was stationed in the Middle East during the Iraq War, she met Franken — at the time, a comedian and writer — as he was visiting American troops with the USO. A longtime fan of “Saturday Night Live,” Kemplin got in line to take a photo with Franken.

“When he put his arm around me, he groped my right breast. He kept his hand all the way over on my breast,” Kemplin said in an interview. “I’ve never had a man put their arm around me and then cup my breast. So he was holding my breast on the side.”

Kemplin repeatedly used the word “embarrassed” to describe her immediate reaction at the time.

“I remember clenching up and how you just feel yourself flushed,” she said. “And I remember thinking — is he going to move his hand? Was it an accident? Was he going to move his hand? He never moved his hand.”

Let me guess, senator, this is another incident that you don’t recall but that must be another innocent gesture maliciously misinterpreted?

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