*PBS has suspended late-night talk show host Tavis Smiley amid sexual misconduct allegations after an investigation uncovered “credible” witnesses.
“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the public broadcaster said. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. 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.”
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The veteran talk show host was allegedly having sexual relations with multiple staffers who believed their employment status was dependent on their intimate relationship with him, TMZ reports.
Smiley has hosted “Tavis Smiley,” a half-hour interview program, weeknights on PBS member stations since 2004. Sources close to production told Variety that PBS hired attorney Sarah Taylor Wirtz of the firm MSK to oversee an investigation into the misconduct allegations.
MSK took reports from 10 witnesses, a mix of men and women of different races, most of them former staffers. The investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, sources said. They accuse Smiley of “creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment,” and “several expressed concerns about retaliation.”
“I’m not surprised at all. Tavis is 53 years old with no children and never been married. So there were always whispers about his sexuality. But we’re both from Indiana and Tavis actually dated two of my high school classmates so I knew that Tavis has always been into women. But I knew he was a womanizer based on several accounts from friends of mine he attempted to bed. Smiley is just the latest sexual terrorist that the #Metoo campaign has taken down and brought to justice, “ said the Director of Project Islamic HOPE.
“Smiley had already lost a tremendous amount of respect and credibility with black America because he was the number one President Obama hater. This is the nail in the coffin for Smiley. Black woman are rising up and refusing to be silenced,” he added.