Tavis Smiley's show suspended by PBS amid misconduct allegations

PBS has suspended distribution of "Tavis Smiley" amid "troubling allegations" against the news show's namesake host....

Posted: Dec 14, 2017 12:13 PM
Updated: Dec 14, 2017 12:13 PM

PBS has suspended distribution of "Tavis Smiley" amid "troubling allegations" against the news show's namesake host.

The organization said Wednesday that it had hired an outside law firm to handle an investigation into the matter.

"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," a statement from PBS reads.

No details about the allegations were released. But Variety, which first reported PBS' suspension of Smiley's show, cited anonymous sources as saying that the investigation "found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates."

In a statement posted on his official Facebook page Wednesday night, Smiley said he was "as shocked as anyone else by PBS' announcement."

"I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years," he said. "Never. Ever. Never."

Smiley, 53, is a longtime radio commentator, TV talk show host and author. His 30-minute interview show, "Tavis Smiley," has aired weeknights on PBS since 2004.

Related: Six women sue Harvey Weinstein and his company in class action lawsuit

He's known for addressing social justice issues, including race relations and poverty.

In his statement, Smiley said that "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."

He criticized PBS for its handling of the situation, saying he only learned about the investigation from former staffers and didn't get a proper chance to defend himself.

"This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back," he said. "It's time for a real conversation in America, so men and women know how to engage in the workplace. I look forward to actively participating in that conversation."

Smiley's written statement was accompanied by a video of him addressing the allegations.

PBS wasn't immediately available for comment outside of regular office hours early Thursday.

PBS is the distributor for Smiley's show, but it's produced by TS Media, Smiley's production company. Smiley is not employed by PBS.

TS Media could not be immediately reached Wednesday.

Smiley's career includes a stint hosting a TV show on Black Entertainment Television in the 90s as well as a commentator at National Public Radio, ABC News, and CNN. In 2002, he became the first black man to host a show on NPR.

Related: CBS News and PBS fire Charlie Rose

Other high-profile figures in public broadcasting have also faced allegations of misconduct in recent months.

PBS' move to halt distribution of Smiley's show comes less than a month after it terminated its contract with Charlie Rose, who was accused of harassing multiple women by making unwanted sexual advances.

Rose said in a statement at the time that he "deeply apologized" for what he admitted was "inappropriate behavior."

-- Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
Lafayette8846143
Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
Leake413990
Newton395781
Tishomingo383593
Grenada3777109
Stone365866
Jasper340666
Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20018517
Marshall18782316
Houston17731425
St. Clair16884358
Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14989306
Talladega14196299
DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
Marengo342493
Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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