Tavis Smiley surprised by PBS suspension

Tavis Smiley surprised by PBS suspension

PBS has suspended late-night talk show "Tavis Smiley" amid misconduct allegations against its host and namesake.

In a statement, the public broadcaster said an outside law firm hired to investigate accusations against Smiley "uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS".

Representatives at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) pulled Smiley's talk show from the air after bosses at the network revealed they had gathered evidence of on set misbehavior against the presenter, following allegations of sexual misconduct.

"On the eve of the 15th season and 3,000th episode of my nightly talk show, I was as shocked as anyone else by PBS' announcement today".

PBS responding quickly to Smiley's verbal assault, insisting the integrity of their investigation was beyond reproach. Mr. Smiley has strongly denied the allegations.

The Variety piece referenced by Smiley accused him of sexual relationships with a number of show subordinates, along with fostering a "verbally abusing and threatening environment" on the show. Some of the witnesses were concerned about the connection between their employment status and having a sexual relationship with Smiley plus fears of retaliation from Smiley.

In a statement posted Thursday evening on Facebook, Smiley said, "I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth". One that did, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, said: "We just learned of these allegations and at this time will reserve comment".

"I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years", he said. His company, TS Media, Inc. produces the show in Los Angeles.

Smiley contracted with NPR to host The Tavis Smiley Show from 2002 to 2004. The show, which is underwritten by sponsors such as Wal-Mart, has received four NAACP Image Awards. Smiley is not employed by PBS.

Smiley also oversees the publishing imprint Smiley Books and has written more than a dozen books, including his memoir "What I Know for Sure" and "The Covenant With Black America".

PBS' move to halt distribution of Smiley's show comes less than a month after it terminated its contract with Charlie Rose, who was accused of harassing multiple women by making unwanted sexual advances.



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