Tavis Smiley, suspended by PBS, vows to fight back
NEW YORK (AP) — PBS has suspended radio and TV host Tavis Smiley after finding what it called "troubling allegations" of sexual misconduct, making him the second high-profile star to be ousted from a network known for its high-brow, genteel programming.
The Public Broadcasting Service said Wednesday an independent investigation by a law firm uncovered "multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS." His show's page at PBS was scrubbed today.
Smiley shot back on Facebook, saying PBS "overreacted" and calling it "a rush to judgment." He said he has never harassed anyone and claimed one relationship the network uncovered was consensual.
"If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us," he said. "This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back."
PBS responded to Smiley's accusations by saying it stands by the integrity of the investigation. "The totality of the investigation, which included Mr. Smiley, revealed a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates over many years," a PBS spokesperson said.
The ouster comes weeks after PBS cut ties with anchor and talk show host Charlie Rose, citing "extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior" by him toward women at his PBS talk show.
Smiley brought rare diversity to late-night TV and has drawn the ire of conservatives and liberals alike for some of his views.