PBS is “indefinitely” suspending distribution of the late-night talk show “Tavis Smiley” after multiple misconduct allegations emerged against the show’s 53-year-old host, PBS announced Wednesday.
While a statement from a PBS spokeswoman did not say what sort of misconduct was alleged, PBS News Hour, on its website, said the allegations involved “sexual misconduct.”
“PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley,” a PBS spokesperson said.
“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.”
The news was first reported by Variety on Wednesday afternoon.
The “Tavis Smiley” show is produced by independent production company TS Media. While PBS has been airing the series since 2004, it does not employ Smiley or his staff.
Smiley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The probe revealed allegations that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates, Variety reported, citing unnamed sources.
Some witnesses “expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley,” Variety reported. They described the longtime TV personality as creating a “verbally abusive and threatening environment” and raised concerns about retaliation, according to Variety.
“Tavis Smiley” is a 30-minute news show that airs weeknights and is filmed in Los Angeles. It features interviews with politicians, celebrities, athletes, and other high-profile guests.
Smiley was in the process of teaming up with J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot to develop a television adaptation of Smiley’s book “Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days” for Warner Bros. Television.
He is the latest broadcast host to face misconduct allegations in recent weeks. 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.
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