PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the program’s host.
Variety reports the public broadcaster hired attorney Sarah Taylor Wirtz to oversee an investigation into Smiley’s behavior following claims of sexual misconduct. In a statement announcing the late night talk show’s suspension, PBS noted that an inquiry into Smiley’s conduct uncovered “multiple, credible” allegations.
“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,” stated a PBS spokesperson.
According to Variety, the investigation found allegations of Smiley engaging in sexual relationships with subordinates with some witnesses interviewed expressing the concern that the state of their employment was fused to those sexual encounters. Several witnesses indicated concern for retaliation for their depiction of interacting with Smiley, who was described as fostering a verbally abusive and threatening workplace.
The suspension of Tavis Smiley’s long-running program comes not particularly far removed from PBS firing long-time fixture Charlie Rose in November after allegations of unwanted sexual advances by the veteran broadcaster. Of course, sexual misconduct has been an issue far from limited to just one broadcaster in 2017.