*Tavis Smiley followed up his “Good Morning America” visit with a trip to Fox News Monday evening, where he continued his defiant stance against PBS for dropping distribution of his program amid sexual harassment allegations against him.
He warned viewers of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that if PBS doesn’t “fix this,” and he ends up suing the company, “millions of taxpayer dollars are going to be spent by PBS defending itself. And I don’t think taxpayers want their money spent that way.”
Smiley repeated to Carlson what he told “GMA’s” Paula Faris earlier Monday. He does not know the exact allegations made against him by former staffers on his show.
Carlson then brought up Smiley’s past remarks about meeting with PBS brass for three hours to discuss the allegations, only after his own reps threatened to sue PBS if they did not. The meeting, Smiley said, came after weeks of being put off by PBS when he asked to discuss the allegations. Smiley said he contacted PBS after hearing through the grapevine about the investigation.
“What did you talk about?” Carlson asked of the meeting.
“Vague questions,” Smiley explained – “Might you ever have done this?” stuff.
“They’ve done a sloppy investigation and something needs to be done to fix this,” he added.
Again, he acknowledged having romantic relations with employees over 30 years in the business but insisted they were consensual and that he’s guilty, at worst, of bad judgment.
“It does not rise to the level of this kind of public shame, this kind of public humiliation, this kind of wrongful termination, and this kind of personal destruction,” he argued.
“What do you think this is about?” Carlson asked. “Why did PBS do this?”
Smiley answered coyly that when something “like this” hits the media, “there’s always more to the story than meets the eye,” adding he does not want to say much more because “my attorneys are hard at work.”
“There’s a lot more behind this,” Smiley insinuated.
“It’s strange when you finally get a three-hour meeting, within an hour and a half after that meeting ends, they pull the plug on the show. Clearly, when we went into that three-hour meeting, PBS already had made up its mind,” he said.
“So, about 90 minutes after this meeting ended, we got the letter that they were…indefinitely suspending my program. And 12 minutes after that, this exclusive story broke in Variety. So, I ask: How does an how exclusive story break 12 minutes after we were informed that the plug is being pulled?”
“And, in that story, there are quotes from unnamed sources, presumably inside PBS – ‘persons close to the investigation’ is the phrase they used,” Smiley continued. “They had enough time to research my background, so there is background material about me in the story. There are links they’ve placed in the story. I assume an editor looked at this before it went online. But, all of that was done inside of 12 minutes.”
“Now you tell me whether or not there is an agenda here,” Smiley said.
Prohibiting office dating was not reasonable, Smiley told Carlson, “Let’s face it, nobody is working 40 hour weeks anymore,” putting the work week at something more like 60 to 80 hours a week. “Where else are you going to meet people?”
“Clearly there are millions of Americans who met their spouse at work. The problem is we’re starting to criminalize legitimate relationships between consenting adults. And that’s a real problem for me,” Smiley said.
“And if this can’t be resolved some other way, and if this does, in fact, end up in court, millions of taxpayer dollars are going to be spent by PBS defending themselves and I don’t think taxpayers want their money spent that way,” he added.
Watch Smiley’s appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” above.
The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.
The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.
“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”
Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”
The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.
“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”
Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”
In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.
“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”
Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.
“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”
Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”
New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’
*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.
“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).
It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.
EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.
Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars. As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.
This year has been a year like no other. “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead. Radio Programmers click here for adds.
“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA. Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita. The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture. “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms. Click here to listen on Spotify.
Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH
*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!
Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All Fears, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family. He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai
SCREENPLAY BY | Kurt Wimmer
STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.
Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language
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