From the Washington Post:
Garrison Keillor, who hosted the popular radio show “A Prairie Home Companion” for decades until his retirement last year, has been fired from Minnesota Public Radio after allegations of “inappropriate behavior,” MPR confirmed in a statement Wednesday.
“Minnesota Public Radio is terminating its contracts with Garrison Keillor and his private media companies after recently learning of allegations of his inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him,” the statement read.
I’m not surprised. In fact, when I read Keillor’s head-exploding rationalizations for Al Franken in an op-ed yesterday, also in the Post, I thought, “Hmmmm. This sounds like the logic of a sexual harasser to me. I wonder…?” Foolishly, I didn’t post my suspicions; it was a late cut from today’s Warm-Up.
In his op-ed, “Al Franken should resign? That’s absurd.”, Keillor made the astounding illogical leap of equating the tearing down of statues of historical figures whose conduct was offensive by current standards to excusing current individuals whose conduct—in this case, sexual harassment and assaults—would be acceptable under past standards.
To facilitate this unethical argument and wishful self-applying excuse, the plummy-voiced progressive minimized the complaint of Franken’s first reported victim. I’m numbering each awful section:
Sen. Al Franken…did USO tours overseas when he was in the comedy biz. (1) He did it from deep in his heart, out of patriotism, (2) and the show he did was broad comedy of a sort that goes back to the Middle Ages. (3) Shakespeare used those jokes now and then, and so did Bob Hope and Joey Heatherton when they entertained the troops. (4) If you thought that Al stood outdoors at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan and told stories about small-town life in the Midwest, you were wrong. (5) On the flight home, in a spirit of low comedy, Al ogled Miss Tweeden and pretended to grab her and a picture was taken. (6) Eleven years later, a talk show host in LA, she goes public, (7) and there is talk of resignation. This is pure absurdity, and the atrocity it leads to is a code of public deadliness. No kidding.(8)
To be more specific:
(1) What business Al was in may explain harassment, but doesn’t excuse it. (2) Shameless ethics accounting. So Al’s patriotism entitles him to some “Get out of Harassment Free” cards? (3) Completely irrelevant. (4) Also irrelevant, and a deflection. Franken is not being accused of telling old jokes. (5) What??? (6) Outrageous misrepesentation. First, Keillor conveniently ignores the allegation that Franken exploited her during a skit to stick his tongue down her throat. Then he skips the material fact that Tweeden was asleep when Franken used her as a prop. The ogling was not an issue. The feeling-up of an unconscious, unconsenting female co-worker was and is. (7) Yes, it’s too bad she didn’t go public before Franken was able to eke out a disputed Senate victory over Norm Coleman. Then he could keep being patriotic,doing old vaudeville jokes, and molesting women as a member of the corrupt show business culture, just like you, Garrison! (8) Holding men accountable for workplace harassment is not a “code of public deadliness.” It has been the official standard of conduct for many years. It’s just that celebrities, actors, powerful executives and politicians assumed it didn’t apply to them.
So for Franken to face accountability for his sexual misconduct now, Keillor concludes, means we might as well “remove the slaveholder Washington from our maps, replacing him with Wampanoag, and replace Jefferson, who slept with Sally Hemings — consensual? I doubt it — with Powhatan, and what about the FDR Drive in New York, named for a man who was unfaithful to his wife? Let’s call it RFD and let it go at that. ”
Would someone explain to this guy that if a current day politician owned slaves, he’d be in big trouble? See, Garrison, it’s wrong to hold historical figures responsible for breaching conduct norms that didn’t exist when they were alive, but it doesn’t work in reverse: their conduct a century or more ago can’t excuse a Senator…or a NPR radio host…who engages in sexual harassment now. That kind of unethical and cynical reasoning was how sexual harassment got the “everybody does it” pass when Democrats and feminists sold their principles to save Bill Clinton, allowing unethical men like you to shrug and say, “Heck, if he the President can do it, why can’t I?” for all these years.