PBS Suspends Tavis Smiley Indefinitely Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley.

Fred Prouser / Reuters

Tavis Smiley, the late-night PBS talk show host and author, has been suspended indefinitely because of an internal investigation that uncovered “troubling allegations,” the public broadcaster confirmed Wednesday.

Smiley's suspension was first reported by Variety.

Citing unnamed sources, Variety reported that a law firm was hired by PBS to look into allegations of misconduct by Smiley. That investigation reportedly uncovered multiple incidents of Smiley allegedly engaging in sexual relationships with subordinates, and that those people felt their employment might be linked to their sexual relationship with talk host.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News, PBS confirmed the talk show host was suspended and distribution of his show, Tavis Smiley, had also been halted.

“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of 'Tavis Smiley,' produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” PBS said in its statement. “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.”

Variety reported that the investigation by the law firm found that Smiley created, “a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what would be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment.”

Representatives for Smiley did not immediately return BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.

Tavis Smiley has been airing weeknights on PBS for 14 years.

According to a previous press release in 2013 when the public broadcaster renewed the show for another two years, Tavis Smiley was airing in about 97% of PBS stations across 200 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Atlanta.

Smiley has also published more than 16 books. Beginning next year, he is scheduled to begin a tour of his most recent book, Death of A King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year.

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/usnews.xml

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