PBS Pulls Tavis Smiley’s Talk Show After Misconduct Allegations
Posted December 14, 2017 1:51 a.m. EST
PBS stopped distributing a talk show hosted by Tavis Smiley on Wednesday after an investigation found “credible allegations” of misconduct against him, the network announced.
The public broadcasting network said it had referred claims of inappropriate behavior by Smiley, who hosts his self-titled nightly program, to an outside law firm to investigate. The network said it had indefinitely suspended its distribution of the show after the inquiry uncovered allegations that were “inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS.”
“The totality of this information led to today’s decision,” the network said in a statement, adding that Smiley, 53, was also interviewed in the investigation.
While PBS did not disclose the nature of the allegations, Variety reported that they involved sexual relationships with co-workers.
In an email to The New York Times, Smiley accused the network of conducting an unfair investigation and not offering him due process to defend himself.
“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,” Smiley wrote early Thursday.
Smiley said he learned more about the allegations from news reports Wednesday evening than he did during a three-hour interview with an investigator. He said he had never sexually assaulted or harassed any colleague during his career.
“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 said.
In addition to hosting the “Tavis Smiley” show, which premiered in January 2004, Smiley is also a radio host and is the author or co-author of 21 books. He announced in October that one of his books, “Death of a King,” about the Rev. Martin L. King Jr., would be adapted into a live performance on tour in 2018.
PBS broadcast his half-hour interview, which features celebrities and people in the news, but it is produced by TS Media, his production company in Los Angeles.
In November, PBS fired another prominent talk-show host, Charlie Rose, after multiple women accused him of misconduct.