Tavis Smiley continues to defend his name following sexual misconduct allegations that prompted him to lose a distribution deal with PBS.
“PBS made a huge mistake here,” he told ABC News on Monday, while still maintaining that he was not given an opportunity to defend himself. “They need to fix it. They need to correct it. I’m going to do anything to protect my reputation.”
PBS ended the distribution of Smiley’s talk show after an investigation by an outside law firm found “credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS.” Smiley was accused of “multiple sexual relationships” with people who worked for him and that “employment decisions may be linked to sex.”
But when asked by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson whether such relationships are appropriate, Smiley said that the work environment allowed for it.
“In my employee handbook we do not encourage interoffice relationships but we don’t forbid it either because I don’t know how things are going to turn out in your life and you start hanging out with our company,” he said. “I don’t know who you’re going to meet. And let’s face it, nobody’s working 40-hour weeks anymore. We are working 40-, 50-, 70-, 80-hour weeks. Where else are you going to meet people in this business?”
He added that relationships between consenting adults were now being questioned, and he did not agree with it.
PBS responded by saying that “Smiley’s own words today coupled with the information discovered during the investigation confirms PBS’ decision to indefinitely suspend the distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley’.”