Talk-show host Tavis Smiley defended himself again against sexual harassment allegations today, saying, “PBS made a huge mistake here.”
PBS suspended the distribution of his eponymous talk show earlier this month after an investigation, noting “multiple, credible allegations,” the network confirmed to ABC News in a statement.
A PBS spokesperson added, “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.”
During a live sit-down interview on “Good Morning America” today, Smiley, 53, reiterated that “I’ve never groped, I’ve never coerced” women into sexual relations on his staff “in 30 years over six different networks.”
He added, “I celebrate and applaud these women who had the courage to come out,” but he’s concerned that because of the recent climate, “people end up being guilty simply by accusations.”
Smiley had relationships with women while working on “The Tavis Smiley Show,” he said, adding he can prove they were consensual “with letters, cards, gifts and, certainly, photographs.”
He noted that one woman with whom he had a romantic relationship still works for him now.
“I certainly understand people can have a viewpoint any consensual relationship in the workplace is wrong … but there are also other points of view on this,” he said. “While we don’t encourage [them] …we don’t forbid them.”
The talk-show host added that during those relationships, he never instructed the “team” who runs his company on any employment matters.
“I never gave any favoritism upward or downward,” he said.
Smiley also pushed back on claims that he has created a hostile work environment, saying, “I have feelings. I have emotions and when the ball gets dropped,” he has had to pick it back up.
“The environments are intense at times,” he…
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