PBS Suspends The Tavis Smiley Show Over 'Troubling Allegations'

Invision  AP File

PBS vice president for corporate communications Jennifer R. Byrne, said that the company had used an outside law firm to investigate allegations that were levied against Smiley.

The news was first reported by Variety on Wednesday afternoon.

The investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, sources said.

Some witnesses said they were concerned that employment status was linked to whether they had sex with Smiley. In general, witnesses described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment. "Variety knew before I did", Smiley said in a video message response.

Representatives for Smiley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The totality of this information led to today's decision", the network said in a statement, adding that Mr. Smiley, 53, was also interviewed in the investigation.

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"It is clear that this has gone too far, and, I, for one, intend to fight back", Smiley explained.

I look back in the vehicle and see Blanca, a young woman that Tavis had picked up at the Orlando airport and brought along as a f**k buddy.

Additionally, Smiley called the investigation performed by PBS "biased and sloppy".

It's time for a real conversation in America, so men and women know how to engage in the workplace. "Look at her, she's so stupid", he tells me, during our stop over from NY to Bismarck at Chick-fil-A in the Minneapolis airport Delta terminal after Blanca had left us at the counter and walked toward the gate. 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.

It's unclear whether the allegations against Smiley will affect that deal. Last month, PBS terminated its relationship with longtime television host Charlie Rose for "extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior" following a Washington Post report that detailed his alleged unwanted sexual advances toward women.

"Tavis Smiley" has aired nightly on various PBS stations since 2004, but the network only distributes the show and doesn't finance its production or employ Smiley or his employees.

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