Tavis Smiley's PBS show suspended following sexual misconduct investigation
15 December, 2017, 06:59 | Author: Miranda Cannon
According to Variety, PBS has suspended distribution of the independently produced Tavis Smiley show following an internal investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against host Tavis Smiley. The investigation was said to have found credible allegations that the talk show host had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates. Some witnesses reportedly said they anxious their employment was linked to the status of those relationships, and that they feared retaliation.
The representative said, "PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley".
Smiley, however, says he knew of no investigation until former staffers began reaching out to him after they received phone calls from investigators trying to determine if Smiley had been inappropriate on the job.
Walmart, which had been a sponsor of Smiley's talk show and an upcoming touring theatrical show, cut ties with him. In general, witnesses described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment. To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years.
Smiley was in the process of teaming up with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot to develop a television adaptation of Smiley's book "Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson's Last Days" for Warner Bros.
"If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us", Smiley said. In a statement announcing the late night talk show's suspension, PBS noted that an inquiry into Smiley's conduct uncovered "multiple, credible" allegations. "And I, for one, intend to fight back", he added.
Another popular personality of PBS who is facing sexual misconduct accusations has been fired just a few week after Charlie Rose was sacked for the very same reason.
Other high-profile figures in public broadcasting have also faced allegations of misconduct in recent months.
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