Tavis Smiley Suspended By PBS Following Sexual Misconduct Investigation


PBS has suspended distribution of its late night talk show Tavis Smiley after sexual harassment claims were made against its host, Tavis Smiley, Variety reports.

The public broadcasting network said it had referred claims of inappropriate behavior by Mr. Smiley, who hosts his self-titled nightly program, to an outside law firm to investigate.

Smiley's program has been on air since 2004 and has been underwritten by large sponsors such as Wal-Mart. Some witnesses reportedly said they anxious their employment was linked to the status of those relationships, and that they feared retaliation. "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", PBS announced.

According to Variety, sources said PBS hired an outside law firm to conduct the investigation, which consisted of interviews from 10 employees of TS Media, some of which were past employees. Hyzagi wrote that "Tavis' misogyny is always creeping around, barely camouflaged by Midwestern good manners".

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He also said that Smiley considered himself bulletproof with PBS. 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.

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.

Tavis has not yet issued a statement and representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The network suspended Smiley's show amid allegations of sexual misconduct among low-level staffers living in fear of losing their jobs.