Letter: Balentine's defense of Keillor evokes sarcasm

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I want to thank John Balentine for his well-thought out column on Garrison Keillor (“Keillor isn’t a Rose (or Lauer) by any other name”). The only slight imbalance came from giving Keillor’s side of the story and not that of his accuser. Honestly, though, it was such a carefully crafted argument, with so much evidence behind it, I don’t think we even need her side. Consider the irrefutable points Balentine made:

1 — It’s Garrison Keillor. We love Garrison Keillor. We’ve loved him for years. It is completely absurd to consider that a well-loved public figure could be guilty of sexual impropriety.

2 — Only one woman has come forward to accuse him. Therefore, it is not very likely to have happened.

3 — Anyway, it was years ago.

4 — And this one I find the most convincing: Keillor himself said that it was accidental. I believe him. If women insist on posing naked next to you for photographs, it is virtually impossible not to accidentally touch their bare skin.

I think Balentine’s point is proved. Keillor’s accuser is clearly jumping on the lucrative gravy train of women calling out men for sexual impropriety. We shouldn’t listen to her.

Or, wait a minute. Maybe Balentine’s response is why the problem is so rampant to begin with.

Leah Salow
South Portland

  • reperto

    Nobody knows the accuser’s side. Do you, Ms. Salow? The fact is MPR has not said what specifically the accuser has accused Mr. Keillor of. They haven’t even told him what he’s accused of.

    How can Mr. Balentine give the accuser’s side of the story, when nobody knows what it is?

    That’s one reason many people are so outraged. Keillor has had his reputation destroyed without knowing what he’s accused of (he’s had to guess), and without having the opportunity to give his side of the story before they decided to destroy his reputation.

    The 6th amendment of the US Constitution states that people should know what they are accused of, and have a right to defend themselves against those accusations. Keillor has not been given any such opportunity by the CEO of MPR, Jon McTaggart.

    McTaggart should be immediately fired.

    • Cat Eldridge

      The 6th admendent applies to the actions of the State, not a private employer. Labour law on such issues is far more complicated than whether or not that bit of the constitution is properly observed. Furthermore Keillor is a contract employee of MPR, not in a labor unhinged nor employed directly by MPR, so his rights are very much different than as either a union member or management staffer there.

      Whatever MPR discovered was serious enough that they pulled all of his APHC shows from rebroadcast, cancelled his current daily show and severed all ties with him and his sites selling APHC merchandise.

      They’ll be renaming and redesigning APHC shortly, something they should’ve done when Thile took over.

      McTaggart’s most likely not guilty of any violations of the contract that MPR has with him.

      • reperto

        The principle – of knowing what you are accused of, and the right to defend yourself – should still apply morally when an employer is determined to destroy your public reputation and your life’s work.

        Do we know that the accusation is serious? We only have Jon McTaggart’s word for it, because we don’t even know what the accusation is.

        Garrison Keillor was a savage and constant critic of President Trump. We know the supporters of Trump have gone out of their way to destroy his critics.

        Could McTaggart, or the anonymous accuser, be a Trump supporter, and could they have destroyed Garrison Keillor for political purposes?

        The reality is we don’t know, and this all could be politically motivated by a Trump supporter.

        • Cat Eldridge

          Wow. I despise Trump but this is simply the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard someone accuse him or one of his supporters of. Just because Kellior is a liberal like myself does not mean I believe that he didn’t engage in whatever it was that MPR had reported to it that he done and which they found was so.

          APHC was, and is, a very profitable show though Keillor garners much of the income from merchandising. If anything, I’d have expected MPR to want to protect him, not get rid of him, as no doubt it will effect fundraising negatively.

          • reperto

            Let me illustrate with another example.

            Al Franken’s initial accuser Leeann Tweeden has long worked for right wing Fox News (look it up). Roger Stone knew of the accusations against Al Franken before they became public (look it up), which suggests he plausibly had a hand in it. In Al Franken’s case, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

            Do we know Garrison Keillor’s accuser is not a Trump supporter? No, we don’t, because she’s anonymous (look it up).

            People are so easily manipulated.

            You have to acknowledge, Garrison Keillor is not just a radio entertainer. He was a constant public critic of Donald Trump. Any Trump supporter would love to create a sex scandal involving Keillor to shut him up.

            There haven’t been legions of women coming out to accuse Keillor. As far as we know, there is one person. In contrast, as I mentioned before, Sue Scott, who worked alongside Keillor for 24 years, publicly said she never saw any “inappropriate behavior” from him. Keillor’s explanation of what he believes is the incident (as he hasn’t actually been told what it is) would seem to have an innocent explanation. He went to pat the back of a lady with a consoling pat, she had a kind of open-back shirt on, and he inadvertently touched the bare skin of her back. This could happen if he was in front of her, and could not see her back.

            I believe in the case of Garrison Keillor, people are terrified of being “seen” to be against mere accusations, and a most likely innocent man, who I believe is not coincidentally a strong critic of President Trump, has been lynched.

  • Philip Zivnuska

    Society’s rules are changing. For too long women have not been believed or even taken seriously when making charges of sexual assault. If the recent improvements are to remain strong, it will be necessary to insure that the pendulum doesn’t swing too far in the other direction. False charges have happened before. Remember the Duke lacrosse team? What are the proper actions for a heterosexual male to take to avoid being destroyed by a single unsubstantiated claim of improper sexual behavior? Shall all hetero men be forced to adopt the “Pence Rule.”