Saturday, September 18, 2021

Tavis Smiley Ordered to Pay PBS $2.6M for ‘Multiple’ Workplace Affairs

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*Tavis Smiley has been ordered to pay $2.6 million to PSB for having multiple affairs with his subordinates.

In March, a jury in Washington DC found that Smiley breached the morals clause in his contract and awarded PBS $1.5 million. 

Smiley, who hosted a talk show on the network, was dismissed back in 2017 following “troubled, but credible allegations” PBS said it had received against Smiley

It seems the big problem is the PBS’ “morals” clause. It bars romantic relationships in the office and also disallows employees from acting in a way that would impact the employee or network in a negative way.

Smiley first sued PBS for wrongful termination, claiming racial bias contributed to his dismissal. The network counter-sued, arguing that Smiley owed for a season that didn’t air, USA Today reported. 

READ MORE: Tavis Smiley Must Pay $1.5 Million PBS for Violating Morals Clause Says Jury


PBS said in a statement to The Associated Press that the network was pleased with the jury’s decision in March.

“PBS expects our producing partners to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect,” the network said. “It was important for us to ensure that the courageous women who came forward were able to share their stories and that we continue to uphold the values and standards of our organization.”

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Smiley admitted that 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,” he wrote 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.”

On Aug. 5, Judge Yvonne Williams awarded the Public Broadcasting Service $2.6 million in liquidated damages and other costs paid by PBS to Smiley’s company, TS Media, for the last two seasons of his former show. 

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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