Tavis Smiley accuses PBS of ‘biased and sloppy’ investigation, denies any misconduct


Former PBS host Tavis Smiley is fighting back against sexual misconduct allegations, accusing PBS of a conducting a “biased and sloppy” investigation. 

>> Read more trending news 

The network suspended the “Tavis Smiley” show on Wednesday after former staffers accused the interviewer of inappropriate behavior.

According to Variety, the longtime PBS host had sexual relationships with many employees and was accused of “creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment” in the workplace. Some of the employees who accused the “Dancing with the Stars” alum were reportedly afraid to come forward sooner over fear of losing their job.

“PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the network announced in a statement.

“PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. 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.”

>> Related: PBS suspends ‘Tavis Smiley’ show amid sexual misconduct investigation

Not only did Smiley deny the allegations, he said PBS didn’t even tell what the accusations were or who made them. 

“I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years,” his statement said, in part. “Never. Ever. Never.”

Smiley said that after he threatened to file a lawsuit, the network agreed to hear his side of the story.

“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. 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. Their mind was made up. Almost immediately following the meeting, this story broke in Varietyas 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,” the statement continued.

>> Related: Lindsey Vonn opens up about backlash after her Trump-Olympics comments

Smiley stated that “PBS overreacted and conducted a biased and sloppy investigation, which led to a rush to judgement.”

Read his entire statement here.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360

Other things to do this weekend: Texas Burlesque Fest and more
Other things to do this weekend: Texas Burlesque Fest and more

Entertainment Texas Burlesque Festival. The 11th annual raucous celebration of all things burlesque and cabaret is returning with featured performers that include Las Vegas’ Dusty Summers and Kalani Kokonuts, New York City’s Jo Weldon and Mr. Gorgeous, and San Francisco’s Alotta Boutte. Plus, Austin will represent with the Mistress...
From crawfish boil to bookstore crawl, a lot to do Saturday in Austin
From crawfish boil to bookstore crawl, a lot to do Saturday in Austin

Dining Searsucker’s Cans & Jams. Searsucker’s monthly live music series is back with a special brunch edition featuring Celis Brewery. You’ll enjoy beats from DJ Ulovei, indulgent brunch dishes and specially priced cans from the North Austin Belgian-inspired beer maker. Those cans you order will be for a good cause: $1 from each one...
Tom Brokaw accused of making unwanted sexual advances against former colleagues
Tom Brokaw accused of making unwanted sexual advances against former colleagues

Legendary NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw is denying allegations he made unwanted sexual advances toward two former colleagues in the 1990s. >> Read more trending news  According to the Washington Post, former NBC correspondent Linda Vester said the now retired Brokaw made sexual advances, including “a forcible attempt to kiss her,&rdquo...
Want to catch up on Marvel films before ‘Avengers: Infinity War’? It'll take more than 38 hours
Want to catch up on Marvel films before ‘Avengers: Infinity War’? It'll take more than 38 hours

Marvel’s highly-anticipated “Avengers: Infinity War” film officially hits theaters Thursday night. Are you prepared? >> Read more trending news  The Marvel Studios film blazoned with superheroes, villains and warriors follows 10 years of such blockbusters. It’s the 19th movie and third “Avengers” film...
Sorry, Jmblya fans: Cardi B apparently is off the May 5 festival lineup
Sorry, Jmblya fans: Cardi B apparently is off the May 5 festival lineup

Rapper Cardi B (L) and Offset attend the 2018 Maxim Party co-sponsored by blu February 3, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for blu) Hip-hop fest Jmblya still has headliners J Cole, Migos and a lot more at Circuit of the Americas on May 5, but it appears Cardi B is off the bill on account...
More Stories