Tavis Smiley Responds To Sexual Misconduct Allegations And Suspension From PBS

Rachaell Davis Dec, 14, 2017

Talk show host and broadcast journalist Tavis Smiley is the latest in an increasing number of high profile men to be accused of sexual misconduct involving women that they’ve worked with or associated with professionally.

While current details of the accusations against Smiley are vague, PBS issued a statement on Wednesday in which they claim to have received “credible allegations” of misconduct following an investigation launched earlier this year. According to an exclusive report from Variety, the investigation ultimately led the network to the decision to suspend Smiley and his program indefinitely.

“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the network said in the statement. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”

Shortly after news of his suspension broke, Smily took to social media to respond to the allegations. Addressing the public in a minute-and-a-half-long video, he denied the allegations and criticized PBS for “overreacting” and running “a sloppy investigation.” 

“Let me say at the outset that I have the utmost respect for all women and I certainly celebrate the courage of those women who have come forth of late to share their own truth,” Smiley said in the video, which was posted his personal Facebook and Twitter accounts on Wednesday evening. “But let me also assure you that I have never groped, inappropriately exposed myself, or coerced any colleague in the workplace, ever, in my 30-year career.”

The Variety report claimed the PBS investigation found that Smiley had “sexual relationships” with multiple co-workers, who expressed concern that their employment status was contingent upon the status of those relationships. Other witnesses questioned also accused Smiley of “creating a verbally abusive and threatening” work environment.

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