A D.C. jury recently returned a verdict in favor of PBS in which former talk show host Tavis Smiley breached a morals clause and was ordered to pay the broadcast giant $1.486 million.
PBS suspended Smiley in 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
As the #MeToo movement gained steam, PBS sought to disassociate itself with the television personality, who was accused of behaving inappropriately toward subordinates.
At trial, PBS presented more than half a dozen women who spoke how they were pressured into relationships or had become the victim of unwanted advances. Smiley insisted the relationships were consensual, and the jury had to consider whether the morals clauses covered the conduct alleged.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams previously ruled that Smiley’s conduct dating back years and even decades, was outside the scope of the contract.
However, she allowed the jury to hear from the women, given claims that Smiley continued to have a sexual relationship with an executive producer on his show, publicly lied about a 2007 settlement agreement with a female subordinate and appeared on Facebook and ABC’s “Good Morning America” to defend himself.
Smiley said on the witness stand that the women’s stories were filled with “lies.”