PBS Says Tavis Smiley Needs to Get His 'Story Straight'

PBS suspended its longtime host last week for sexual misconduct
By Josh Rosenblatt,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2017 4:30 PM CST
PBS Says Tavis Smiley Needs to Get His 'Story Straight'
Tavis Smiley   (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

Last week, PBS suspended production of the Tavis Smiley show, citing what it called "credible" and "troubling allegations" of sexual misconduct against its host. This morning Smiley fired back on Good Morning America, and now the longtime partners are embroiled in a war of words. Using investigators from a law firm, PBS said it found that Smiley had engaged in inappropriate sexual relationships with subordinates and fostered an abusive work environment, charges the host denied again today. While Smiley admitted he has engaged in workplace relationships, he claimed they were consensual and that he never gave his romantic partners preferential professional treatment, USA Today reports.

Smiley also denied sending lewd text messages and creating a hostile work environment, saying, "I have an intense environment. … that's not for everyone, so it might be that the environment wasn't good for you." A PBS spokesperson responded by saying Smiley "needs to get his story straight," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Mr. Smiley acknowledged he has had multiple sexual encounters with his employees then struggled to recall the number of current employees with whom he has had sex," the spokesperson said. In the meantime, Smiley's show remains on indefinite suspension, a situation its host calls a "huge mistake." "They need to fix this," Smiley said. "They need to correct it." (Read more Tavis Smiley stories.)

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