Investigation Finds Allegations Against Smiley Covering Years

PBS commissioned outside report on sexual harassment accusations
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2020 4:25 PM CST
Investigation Finds Allegations Against Smiley Covering Years
Tavis Smiley hosted a talk show on PBS for nearly 14 years.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(Newser) – For years, Tavis Smiley had sexual relationships with guests and staff members on his talk show, in addition to sexually harassing and inappropriately touching women, a PBS report says. The 500-page report was based on an external investigation commissioned by PBS and released Friday, Deadline reports, as part of the legal battle between the network and its former talk show host. Smiley has sued PBS for breach on contract over his firing in 2018, and the network has countersued for the return of $1.9 million in production advances. PBS said at the time of Smiley's firing that it had discovered "multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS." Smiley conceded he'd had workplace relationships, which he says stopped 10 years before the allegations were made, but denied most everything else.

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Several female employees said they'd had sexual relationships with Smiley that were consensual but uneasy because of the power differences, according to the report. One guest said she was not invited back to the show though she'd had sex with him, per the Daily Beast. A producer said she was fired when others found out about their relationship. Another woman said he grabbed her buttocks during a photo session and pushed up against her. One woman said Smiley asked her to have a threesome with the show's executive producer. On Thursday, a judge rejected Smiley's attempt to have the PBS lawsuit thrown out. (Read more Tavis Smiley stories.)

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