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PBS suspends 'Tavis Smiley' show amid allegations of sexual misconduct

14 December 2017, 04:43 | Jermaine Blake

CREDIT Jim Smeal BEI REX Shutterstock

CREDIT Jim Smeal  BEI  REX  Shutterstock

Nearly immediately following the meeting, this story broke in Variety as an 'exclusive.' Indeed, I learned more about these allegations reading the Variety story than the PBS investigator shared with me, the accused, in our 3 hour face to face meeting.

But the show business newspaper Variety says they include alleged sexual relations between Smiley and a number of female employees who say they believed their jobs depended on whether they had sex with him.

"The PBS investigators refused to review any of my personal documentation, refused to provide me the names of any accusers, refused to speak to my current staff, and refused to provide me any semblance of due process to defend myself against allegations from unknown sources", he added.

In a statement posted on his official Facebook page Wednesday night, Smiley said he was "as shocked as anyone else by PBS' announcement".

In a statement, a representative for PBS said: "Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of 'Tavis Smiley, ' produced by TS Media, an independent production company".

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This has gone too far.

"I'm the only black on PBS", Hyzagi quoted Smiley as saying.

According to Variety, the investigation was conducted by Sarah Taylor Wirtz of the venerable Los Angeles law firm MSK, who interviewed ten witnesses, primarily former staffers, about their interactions with Smiley. "And, I, for one, intend to fight back", he said. "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. "I look forward to actively participating in that conversation".

Prior to his work at PBS, Smiley hosted a TV show in Black Entertainment Television in 1996, was a commentator for ABC News and CNN, and became the first black man to host a show on National Public Radio, according to CNN Money.

Other high-profile figures in public broadcasting have also faced allegations of misconduct in recent months. Likewise, eight women accused Charlie Rose, another PBS alumnus, of sexual misconduct.



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