PBS suspends distribution of Smiley show for misconduct

Tavis Smiley

In its statement, PBS said it had "engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley".

"PBS launched a so-called investigation of me without ever informing me", Smiley said.

"The PBS investigators refused to review any of my personal documentation, 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", Smiley added in his statement.

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In their investigation, investigators with PBS heard reports from ten witnesses who were a "mix of men and women of different races and employment levels in Smiley's organization, majority former staffers", according to a report published by Variety.

Smiley's program premiered on PBS in 2004 and was awarded numerous NAACP Image Awards for outstanding news series and outstanding news/information series.

Smiley said that after he threatened to bring on a lawsuit, the network agreed to hear his side of the story.

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He also said that Smiley considered himself bulletproof with PBS.

Mr. Smiley could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening, and a representative at his production company did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Smiley slammed PBS' "sloppy investigation" and accused the network of overreacting. 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. In a bombshell announcement that broke on our sister site Variety on December 13, it read "Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley, produced by TS Media, an independent production company", the public broadcaster said. And, I, for one, intend to fight back. "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.

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Apparently, Smiley was not aware that anything was going on, and according to the statement he released via Facebook, he found out about his suspension and the allegations against him from Variety.

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