PBS Suspends Tavis Smiley After Sexual Harassment Claims
- Author: Joey Payne Dec 14, 2017,
Dec 14, 2017, 7:36
PBS will no longer distribute Tavis Smiley following what a spokeswoman called "multiple, credible" allegations of sexual misconduct uncovered by a recent investigation into the late-night show host's behavior.
Variety first reported that PBS said the show has been suspended indefinitely, as of Wednesday.
The statement said that PBS hired an outside law firm to investigate Smiley after learning of "troubling allegations".
"The totality of this information led to today's decision", the network said in a statement, adding that Mr. Smiley, 53, was also interviewed in the investigation.
Some witnesses said they were concerned that employment status was linked to whether they had sex with Smiley.
PBS suspends 'Tavis Smiley' show amid allegations of sexual misconduct
Filmed in Los Angeles, Smiley's half-hour show has been distributed by PBS since 2004 and airs in Southern California, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and in other areas of the country.
Former Tavis Smiley producer Jacquez Hyzagi hinted at allegations of misconduct in a February essay for the Observer that described a supervising producer as Smiley's "alleged occasional love interest". The question of my relationship status and if saying I was with Blanca would put me in a very hard situation with people at the show who knew about my private life never even crossed his mind.
"If anyone back in L.A. mentions the name Blanca", Tavis tells me as soon as we are alone in the rented SUV once we arrived at the Oceti camp, "just tell them she was your girlfriend, that you brought her along".
Deadline.com notes that Smiley signed an exclusive multi-year development and production pod deal with Warner Brothers TV to develop scripted TV series for broadcast and cable.
HuffPost reached out to Smiley, who did not immediately respond.