‘I Intend To Fight Back’: Tavis Smiley Responds To PBS Suspension, Sexual Misconduct Allegations
Tavis Smiley Fires Back At PBS
On his social media account, the 53-year-old Tavis Smiley host said that he was shocked to learn that PBS has decided to suspend him and his show indefinitely.
He also said that he has the utmost respect for all women and assured all of his fans that he never groped anyone. Smiley also claimed that he has never exposed himself or coerced his colleagues at the workplace.
The host also released a statement via another social media platform and mentioned where the accusations may have come from.
"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," wrote Smiley.
PBS Launches Investigation
After PBS announced Smiley's suspension, the network confirmed that it is undergoing an investigation regarding the allegations being thrown at the host.
"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," read the statement.
PBS hired attorney Sarah Taylor Wirtz of MSK to oversee Smiley's investigation. According to sources, the firm took the reports of male and female witnesses who mostly worked as Smiley's former staff. All are worried about possible retaliation.
The results of the initial investigation revealed that the host engaged in sexual relationships with his subordinates. The 10 witnesses also described Smiley as verbally abusive in the workplace.
Tavis Smiley premiered on PBS in 2004. The 30-minute interview program aired from Monday to Friday. It is produced by Smiley's production company, TS Media, Inc. and is filmed in Los Angeles.
PBS only releases episodes of the talk show, but it does not employ Smiley or his staff.
Sexual Misconduct Accusations
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that Smiley was accused of sexual misconduct. Earlier this year, a former producer on Tavis Smiley dubbed Smiley's misogynistic ways as "creepy."
Jacques Hyzagi claimed that Smiley once picked up a woman at the Orlando airport and brought her along on a reporting trip. He also said that Smiley had a romantic relationship with another producer.
— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) December 14, 2017