PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of the “Tavis Smiley” show. The host of the self-titled series is facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct from some of the show’s staff members.
An investigation was launched into the former “BET Tonight” host after several complaints of misconduct. After conversations with 10 staffers who varied in sex and ethnicity, it was discovered the 53-year-old had engaged in sexual relationships with several of his female employees and created a hostile work environment.
“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the network said in a statement obtained by 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.”
In a February essay for the Observer, one of Smiley’s former co-workers wrote his “misogyny is always creeping around, barely camouflaged by Midwestern good manners.”
The accusations levied against Smiley come at a time when sexual assault and harassment allegations have shaken up the entertainment industry.