PBS Suspends Tavis Smiley After Sexual Harassment Claims


PBS Suspends Tavis Smiley After Sexual Harassment Claims

PBS said Wednesday it has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley's talk show after an independent investigation uncovered "multiple, credible allegations" of misconduct by its host.

The investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, sources said.

Smiley, who served as host and producer on the show, allegedly was involved in sexual relationships with multiple members of his staff who claim he fostered a hostile work environment and engaged in verbal abuse, according to a report by Variety.

Back in February, in an op-ed piece for The Observer, a former senior producer for Smiley wrote of a trip he took with the host to North Dakota to tape a special in Standing Rock directed by the Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs"), a graduate of Miami Southwest High School.

He also said that Smiley considered himself bulletproof with PBS. Tavis' misogyny is always creeping around, barely camouflaged by Midwestern good manners in line with the most duplicitous guys who always open doors, buy flowers and carry luggage until their girlfriends end up scrambling for some hotline 800 number... The question of my relationship status and if saying I was with Blanca would put me in a very hard situation with people at the show who knew about my private life never even crossed his mind. "They can't touch me".

Deadline.com notes that Smiley signed an exclusive multi-year development and production pod deal with Warner Brothers TV to develop scripted TV series for broadcast and cable.

Smiley has not responded to a request for comment from USA TODAY, where he is an occasional contributor to the opinion section.

Both Smiley and Rose have been caught up in a national deluge of sexual harassment and assault allegations that have felled powerful men in entertainment, media, politics, business and fashion in the last two months.