Last week , Variety reported that PBS suspended Tavis Smiley from his half-hour interview program due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Tavis was accused of sexual relations with “multiple subordinates” and “some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley.” Tavis was also accused of creating a threatening and verbally abusive work environment.
In a Monday interview with Good Morning America, Smiley spoke out about the allegations, denying any wrongdoing, “I have never groped, I have never coerced, I have never exposed myself inappropriately.”
Tavis did admit to having consensual relationships in the work place and slammed PBS for never giving him a chance to prove the relationships were consensual.
“PBS only agreed to talk to me after weeks of investigation, which they didn’t tell me about… PBS never informed me that a complaint was even alleged.”
He also said, “After finding out about it, my attorneys contacted the PBS investigators and offered to have them come talk to me, whatever they wanted. They did this for weeks and refused to talk to me. They were prepared to close this investigation without talking to me. Only under the threat of a lawsuit did they sit down and talk to me.”
He revealed when PBS met with him, the network didn’t tell him who the accusers were nor the allegations. Allegedly, PBS didn’t talk to any of his current staff. Tavis claimed within two hours after the meeting was over, his suspension was posted on Variety.
On the accusations that he created an abusive work environment, Tavis said at times the work was intense but, “I am not an angry Black man and this notion of a hostile environment just doesn’t fit.”
Tavis said he will fight for reputation and “PBS made a huge mistake here. They need to fix this, they need to correct it.” Watch the full interview above.
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