Tavis Smiley suspended by PBS over sexual misconduct claims

Tavis SmileyTavis Smiley is the latest name to fall in the midst of the #MeToo movement and reports of sexual misconduct.

According to a new report coming in via Variety, Smiley has been suspended indefinitely by PBS after a number of women have come forward to tell their stories. Smiley (who hosts a self-titled interview / talk series) is said to have engaged in a number of sexual relationships with staffers, some of whom believed their job status was tied to perpetuating these said relationships. The full statement from the network can be found below:

“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley, produced by TS Media, an independent production company … [This] 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.”

Smiley is the second PBS on-air personality to be removed from television following reports of misconduct; previously, Charlie Rose was also shown the door following a series of accusations.

What we are witnessing at the moment is a dramatic sea change across the entire television industry, one where power dynamics are finally shifting and people in power are no longer able to take advantage of that. It’s much-needed and with there still being a couple of weeks left in the year, it’s possible some more names could come out in the midst of this movement. We’ve already seen the likes of Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Al Franken, Danny Masterston, Matt Lauer, and many others lose their employment after allegations against them were brought to light.

While Smiley has not been officially fired as of yet, it’s hard to imagine him returning to PBS in the midst of the allegations against him and the current climate. The voices speaking out against him need to be heard, and beyond that PBS needs the support of its loyal viewers. This is a publicly-funded network and the public certainly shouldn’t welcome someone back who has these sort of charges against them.

Of course, we will have some more news on Smiley and others over time. Stay tuned. (PBS.)

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