Another prominent media figure is off the air at PBS: Tavis Smiley‘s self-titled talk show has been suspended indefinitely following “multiple, credible” accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse.
The news comes from our sister site Variety, who reports that PBS hired an outside law firm to investigate Smiley’s conduct after learning of “troubling accusations” about the talk-show host. The investigation revealed that Smiley engaged in multiple sexual relationships with female staffers, some of whom believed their continued employment with Smiley hinged on those sexual relationships. He was also accused of “creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment,” with some accusers fearing retaliation if their complaints became public.
“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley, produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the network said in a statement, adding that their “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.”
In a video response posted to his social media accounts, Smiley called out PBS for conducting what he referred to as “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.” (A transcript of the video can be found here.)
— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) December 14, 2017
Smiley’s self-titled talk show debuted on PBS in 2004, featuring in-depth guest interviews and discussion of current events. He’s also hosted a radio program for NPR and a long-running talk show on BET, starting back in the mid-1990s.
Just last month, PBS suspended talk-show host Charlie Rose after he faced his own set of sexual misconduct allegations. They replaced Rose’s talk show with a news program hosted by CNN international journalist Christiane Amanpour.