Tavis Smiley's PBS Show Suspended Following Sexual Misconduct Investigation
Tavis Smiley's late night talk show on PBS was suspended by the network Wednesday following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
PBS vice president for corporate communications Jennifer R. Byrne, said that the company had used an outside law firm to investigate allegations that were levied against 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," she said in a statement.
The show is expected to roll out to all PBS stations on Dec. 11.
Smiley's self-titled program has appeared on PBS since 2004. It is produced by TS Media, an independent production company.
Variety reported that the investigation included reports from 10 witnesses who worked in Smiley's organization, most of them former staffers. The investigation was said to have found credible allegations that the talk show host had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates.
The 53-year-old responded to the investigation, his show's suspension and the allegations on Facebook Wednesday where he denied ever taking part in any 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," Smiley said alongside a video of himself.
"I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. To be clear, 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 continued.
"Put simply, PBS overreacted and conducted a biased and sloppy investigation, which led to a rush to judgment, and trampling on a reputation that I have spent an entire lifetime trying to establish," he said. "This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back."
By Wade Sheridan
Originally published in UPI Entertainment News.