PBS Suspends Tavis Smiley Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

by Krystal Franklin

December 14, 2017

Photo by  Earl Gibson III/Getty Images

Tavis Smiley is the latest celebrity to be accused of sexual misconduct and PBS (the home of The Tavis Smiley Show) has taken swift action against the allegations against the 53-year-old talk show host and author.

According to ABC News, in a statement released on Wednesday PBS said, “The Public Broadcasting Service said Wednesday an independent investigation uncovered “multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS.”

Smiley took to his social media to reveal that he was just as surprised as many of the viewers to learn of the accusations,“I have the utmost respect for all women…I have never groped, inappropriately exposed myself or coerced any colleague in the workplace in my 30 year career.”

Watch below.

He also spoke on the allegations in greater detail on Facebook.

“On the eve of the 15th season and 3,000th episode of my nightly talk show, I was as shocked as anyone else by PBS’ announcement today. Variety knew before I did.

I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. 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.

Never. Ever. Never.

PBS launched a so-called investigation of me without ever informing me. I learned of the investigation when former staffers started contacting me to share the uncomfortable experience of receiving a phone call from a stranger asking whether, I had ever done anything to make them uncomfortable, and if they could provide other names of persons to call. After 14 seasons, that’s how I learned of this inquiry, from the streets.

Only after being threatened with a lawsuit, did PBS investigators reluctantly agree to interview me for three hours.

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. The PBS investigators refused to review any of my personal documentation, refused to provide me the names of any accusers, refused to speak to my current staff, and refused to provide me any semblance of due process to defend myself against allegations from unknown sources. Their mind was made up. Almost immediately following the meeting, this story broke in Variety as an “exclusive.” Indeed, I learned more about these allegations reading the Variety story than the PBS investigator shared with me, the accused, in our 3 hour face to face meeting.

My attorneys were sent a formal letter invoking a contractual provision to not distribute my programming, and that was it.

Put simply, PBS overreacted and conducted a biased and sloppy investigation, which led to a rush to judgment, and trampling on a reputation that I have spent an entire lifetime trying to establish.

This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back.

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.”

As a veteran in the field of journalism, Smiley’s radio program The Tavis Smiley Show was distributed by Public Radio International from 2005 to 2013. He has been with PBS for 14 seasons.

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