PBS has indefinitely suspended late-night show “Tavis Smiley” amid allegations of misconduct against its namesake host.
PBS, which has aired the show since 2004, said in a statement Wednesday that an investigation “uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS,” according to Variety, which first reported the suspension.
The independent law firm hired by PBS to conduct the investigation reportedly took statements from 10 witnesses, a mix of men and women of different races and employment levels in Smiley’s organization, most of them former staffers. The investigation found that Smiley, 53, was involved in several sexual relationships with “multiple subordinates,” some of whom were afraid their jobs hinged upon the relationship, Variety reported.
Smiley vowed to fight the charges, calling the PBS investigation “biased and sloppy” and maintaining he “never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years.”
“If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us,” he said in a lengthy Facebook post and video.
The show is produced by Smiley’s independent production company, TS Media. Smiley is not a PBS employee.