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: 320107

Reported Deaths: 7378
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22291269
Hinds20741421
Harrison18444317
Rankin13917282
Jackson13731249
Madison10270224
Lee10060176
Jones8473167
Forrest7834153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636088
Lafayette6314121
Washington5426137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4161136
Union415877
Neshoba4064180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387087
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3372111
Alcorn327473
Scott320374
Yazoo314371
Adams308386
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298984
Simpson298589
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272274
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248963
Tishomingo232268
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 74°
Columbus
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast over the next few days. This will at least keep our area dry for our Wednesday and maybe a little room for a few showers on our Thursday, however nothing major.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather