PBS Suspends Tavis Smiley For Allegedly Forcing Women & Men to Have Sex With Him to Keep Their Jobs

This sounds very similar to the Matt Lauer situation at NBC.

Variety has the details.

“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the public broadcaster said. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. 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.”

The investigation found that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates. Some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley. In general, they described Smiley as creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment that went beyond what could be expected in a typical high-pressure work environment. Several expressed concerns about retaliation.

According to sources, MSK took reports from 10 witnesses, a mix of men and women of different races and employment levels in Smiley’s organization, most of them former staffers.

In a February piece in the Observer, Jacques Hyzagi, a former producer on Smiley’s television show, wrote that Smiley’s “misogyny is always creeping around, barely camouflaged by Midwestern good manners.” Hyzagi described Smiley picking up a woman at the Orlando airport and bringing her along on a reporting trip as a “fuck buddy”; alleged that Smiley had a romantic relationship with another producer; and quoted Smiley denigrating PBS executives.

No word on if he will be fired or if the suspension will end at some point.  It appears Tavis was being accused by both men and women according to the investigation.

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