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NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart and a book distributor distanced themselves from Tavis Smiley on Thursday after PBS said an investigation found “troubling allegations” of sexual misconduct by the radio and TV host.

The moves came a day after PBS said it was suspending Smiley following an independent investigation by a law firm. PBS said the firm uncovered “multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS.” His show’s page at PBS was scrubbed on Thursday.

Smiley responded to the allegations on Facebook, saying PBS “overreacted” and calling it “a rush to judgment.” He said he has never harassed anyone and claimed one relationship the network uncovered was consensual.

“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,” he said. “This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back.”

Walmart, which had been a sponsor of Smiley’s talk show and an upcoming touring theatrical show, cut ties with him. “We take these issues very seriously and are troubled by the recent allegations,” the retail giant said in a statement. “As a result, we are suspending our relationship with Mr. Smiley, pending the outcome of the PBS investigation.”

Hay House, which distributes the Smiley Books imprint, said all Smiley projects were “on hold” pending an internal review. Smiley had planned in September to release “Leading by Listening: Connecting through Conversation to Transform Your Relationships and Your Business.”

PBS responded to Smiley’s accusations by saying it stands by the integrity of the investigation. “The totality of the investigation, which included Mr. Smiley, revealed a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates over many years,” a PBS spokesperson said.

The ouster comes weeks after PBS cut ties with anchor and talk show host Charlie Rose, citing “extremely disturbing and intolerable behavior” by him toward women at his PBS talk show.

Smiley brought rare diversity to late-night TV and has drawn the ire of conservatives and liberals alike for some of his views. He has worked for six networks over a 30-year career and his radio program “The Tavis Smiley Show” was distributed by Public Radio International from 2005 to 2013. He has been with PBS for 14 seasons and some 3,000 episodes.

Smiley also has a development deal with Warner Bros. Television and was working with J.J. Abrams to turn his new book about Michael Jackson’s last days and death into a limited TV series. He also has a podcast via PodcastOne.

Smiley next month is expected to launch a nationwide 40-city tour of a theatrical production focusing on the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. “Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience” is based on Smiley’s 2014 book of the same title and was to start Jan. 15, King’s birthday.

“Death of a King” is being produced by Mills Entertainment, which did not respond Thursday to requests for comment. Several of the venues slated to host the show did not respond to queries about whether the show would play as scheduled. One that did, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, said: “We just learned of these allegations and at this time will reserve comment.”

Smiley also oversees the publishing imprint Smiley Books and has written more than a dozen books, including his memoir “What I Know for Sure” and “The Covenant With Black America.”

The dismissals of Smiley and Rose at PBS follow dozens of firings and suspensions of prominent men who have been accused of sexual misconduct or harassment. The wave began this fall with allegations lodged against Harvey Weinstein and has impacted numerous high-profile TV and media figures, with Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, journalist Mark Halperin, NPR news chief Michael Oreskes, reporter Glenn Thrush and New Republic editor Leon Wieseltier all felled, among others.

According to Variety, the investigation found Smiley found that he had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates and created “a verbally abusive and threatening environment.”

Smiley in his Facebook post claims PBS “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.”

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20 thoughts on “Companies Cut Ties With Tavis Smiley; He Responds To Allegations

  1. Passing Through!! on said:

    Why doesn’t he hold Trump accountable? Why didn’t he hold Reagan and Bush accountable?
    Thank you, Tavis had no problem throwing President Obama under the bus every chance he got he along with Cornell even went on MSNBC and Fox & bashed the hell out of Obama and to this date has not said ONE WORD against donald trump who is far more dangerous to black people. Cornell West got mad at Obama over inauguration tickets, initially he was a supporter of Obama he turned on President Obama because he couldn’t get tickets for his family or his mother. Tavis hatred was not about holding Obama accountable he went in on him as soon as he announced that he was running for president without even giving him a chance. No he won’t speak out against trump because he calls himself having a chip on his shoulder because he couldn’t use his platform on the Tom Joyner show to turn black people against President Obama. Now these racist who he aligned himself with to destroy Obama has taken his job, no questions ask simply kicked his black ass right out the door. He probably thought he won some special favor with the whites for his Obama hate. He’s being smeared the same way he tried to smear Obama. I can’t help but believe that there’s a tad bit of Karma to all of this.

  2. Alberta on said:

    Gasp I’m surprised! Just get married Tavis theres a price to pay for whoring around you got touchy feely and you thought it she was free! Come on guys you should know the p[rice for the whole cow.

  3. Exactly @specialt. The republuthugs blocked everything Obama tried to do. He had only so much power and we knw what the thugs thought of him from the beginning. Obstruct, obstruct, and obstruct some more. They would never have passed a taxed bill like the thugs are throwing down our throats. Only the thugs wrote this shit but all middle class and poor Americans will be paying for it.

  4. FallMornings on said:

    If these allegations are not true, the accuser(s) need to be held accountable. He needs to be financially compensated for his time and trouble. Its going to come a time when a man cannot give a woman a compliment without charges of misconduct.

  5. Chastity on said:

    Tavis has done some ugly things over the last few years. He went after President Obama with such hatred and that caused him to lose his job with the TJMS. God does not like ugly, Tavis. You are reaping what you have sewn.

    • I disagree..Tavis and Cornell West was only trying to hold President Obama accountable to poor & Black People..we voted over 90% for wasn’t the white people that put him in office was US ..However ..other than healthcare AND pride , we didn’t see the return for our vote ..No income increase , no college tuition help, no affordable housing allowance ( to purchase NOT section 8 rent) ect,,no SPECIAL legislation for BLACK people…

      • specialt757 on said:

        Without agreeing our disagreeing with you, we (blacks) showed up and showed out for the elections of Barack Obama, however the electoral college votes decided the winner. Unlike in VA, NJ, and AL this year, our votes made a huge difference in these tight races.


        Why doesn’t he hold Trump accountable? Why didn’t he hold Reagan and Bush accountable?

      • this is why I can’t stand you black devils! You are the most racist, ignorant POS I have ever seen You make up 13 percent of the population yet you believe it was You who got the transvestite elected. 10’s of millions of self loathing whites voted for the pig. Without those votes it was mathematically impossible for the transvestite to get elected you racist POS!

      • Smiley has gone after Trump. He went after Bush. That’s what political commentators do. Clearly you haven’t heard about the beef they got into and Trump calling him a racist. Truth is you only cared when he talked about Obama.

      • Mac Ben on said:

        You are mathematically challenged and are looking at the black vote wrong. If every black american whi could
        vote, voted it would not be enough to win a presidency- otherwise the president would ALWAYS be who
        blacks want- and we know that is not the case. White folk outnumber us by more than 3:1. In both elections Mr. Charlie and his women voted nearly 60/40 for Obama. He could not have won without the white, asian and latino voters. Everyone knew he would get the black vote.

    • What ugly, hateful thing did Tavis say about Obama? Did he talk about his mama, wife, kids, his big ears…? Really, what ugly thing did he say?.

      • specialt757 on said:

        Trump is a self-proclaimed sexual predator, what he said he did, those women confirmed. Cosby hasn’t admitted and in both cases these women should have spoken out sooner and when evidence could have been preserved. Not making an assumption to either’s guilt or innocence, okay except for trump, he did it.

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