*Former talk show host Tavis Smiley has taken to Facebook to defend himself against the sexual misconduct allegations that prompted PBS to cancel his “Tavis Smiley” show in late 2017.
Smiley has since been in an ongoing legal dispute with the broadcaster, and is now speaking out publicly ahead of the trial, which begins Monday. In an unsealed report from a PBS-hired external investigator, Smiley allegedly engaged in questionable conduct for decades.
Citing a line from Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” — Smiley noted that the accusations threaten to ruin him “professionally, economically, emotionally, and even spiritually,” per Variety.
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Ten months ago, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, PBS pulled the plug on my nightly talk show amid a sexual misconduct probe, saying that it had “uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the… read my update in full here: https://t.co/ol2xrfTiF2
— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) October 11, 2018
In January, Smiley lost a bid to toss out PBS’ countersuit that alleges he violated his contract by spending “decades engaged in sexual relationships with subordinates and guests on his show, and committed acts of verbal abuse, inappropriate touching, and made unwanted sexual comments,” Deadline writes.
In his Facebook post, Smiley admits he had “consensually dated persons with whom I had worked” and “[his] truth might represent professional misjudgment, albeit decades ago.”
“The truth is that PBS conducted a sham investigation and fired me based on arbitrary and esoteric ‘standards and values’ that were certainly not applied evenly to the talent throughout the organization, that they relied on false statements from anonymous sources who never even worked for my company, and that other witness testimony was utterly discredited, unsubstantiated or completely uncorroborated,” wrote Smiley on Facebook.
“The folk who pilot PBS are real people; people who are fallible and flawed, people who make mistakes, people with prejudices, people who hold grudges,” he added. “The same people who broadcast Sesame Street are not above starting a street fight.”
PBS also accuses Smiley of failing to return $1.9 million in unused production funds for his show.
Here is Smiley’s full statement below: