PBS Host Tavis Smiley Suspended After Sexual Misconduct Investigation

PBS suspended late-night talk show host Tavis Smiley after an investigation into misconduct allegations.

Effective Dec. 13, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley, produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” PBS said in a statement to Variety.

"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.”

Sources told Variety that PBS has hired an outside attorney to oversee an investigation into Smiley's alleged misconduct. The host allegedly had sexual relationships with several of his subordinates, the sources told Variety. Witnesses told PBS that they believed their employment at the show depended on having a sexual relationship with the 53-year-old Smiley.

Variety reports that the investigation heard from witnesses who said Smiley was verbally abusive and threatening. Some feared retaliation for speaking out.

Smiley has been hosting Tavis Smiley since 2004 and had a radio show from 2005 to 2013. He also hosted BET Tonight during the 1990s.

In February, the Observer published a piece by Jacques Hyzagi, who wrote that Smiley's "misogyny is always creeping around, barely camouflaged by Midwestern good manners in line with the most duplicitous guys who always open doors, buy flowers and carry luggage until their girlfriends end up scrambling for some hotline 800 number."

Hyzagi recalled meeting Smiley at the Orlando airport, where he had a young woman "brought along as a f--- buddy." She also wrote that Smiley told her, "I hate the people who run PBS."

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PBS has also had to cut ties with Charlie Rose, who was accused of sexual harassment. His show was replaced by Christiane Amanpour. CBS News also fired Rose.

Photo credit: Facebook/ Tavis Smiley