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Tavis Smiley: 'PBS made a huge mistake.' PBS to Smiley: Get your story straight

Tavis Smiley, who was recently called out by PBS over "troubling allegations" about his conduct, staunchly defended h...

Posted: Dec 18, 2017 7:29 PM
Updated: Dec 18, 2017 7:29 PM

Tavis Smiley, who was recently called out by PBS over "troubling allegations" about his conduct, staunchly defended his behavior and his integrity Monday and upbraided the network that suspended the distribution of his show.

"I have never groped. I have never coerced or exposed myself to anyone inappropriately," he told ABC's "Good Morning America" in an exclusive interview.

"I celebrate and applaud the women that came out and told the truth and lead us to create healthy workspaces. At the same time, I want to make sure we don't lose all proportionality in this because if we do, people end up guilty by accusation."

Smiley, 53, is a longtime radio commentator, TV talk show host and author. His 30-minute interview show, "Tavis Smiley," has aired weeknights on PBS since 2004. He is now one of a growing list of public figures facing misconduct allegations.

PBS, which suspended distribution of the "Tavis Smiley" show last week amid "troubling allegations" against the host, fired back after Smiley's appearance on ABC.

"Tavis Smiley needs to get his story straight," a spokeswoman for PBS said Monday in an email to CNN's Brian Stelter.

"First, today on 'Good Morning America,' Mr. Smiley acknowledged he has had multiple sexual encounters with his employees... This contradicts his Facebook post from last week, where he cited only one previous relationship with an employee," the PBS statement said.

The public broadcasting organization said last week it had hired an outside law firm to handle an investigation into the matter "following receipt of a complaint."

"The totality of the investigation, which included Mr. Smiley, revealed a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates over many years, and other conduct inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS," the statement said.

Smiley responded at that time, saying "if having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us."

PBS also cited Smiley's comments Monday about applauding the women who have come forward, and noted that his company requires former and current employees to sign non-disclosure agreements.

"Witnesses who have bravely come forward to speak with the independent investigators retained by PBS report a fear of retribution for speaking out," the network said, adding that more allegations "are continuing to come to light since last week's announcement."

PBS is the distributor for Smiley's show, but it's produced by TS Media, Smiley's production company. Smiley is not employed by PBS.

Smiley said he understands and respects the view of people who see consensual sexual relationships in the workplace as wrong. "But there are other points of view on this," he said.

"In our employee handbook, while we do not encourage office relationships, we don't forbid them either and don't forbid them because I don't know where your heart will lead you or who you will hang out with or date. Many met their spouses at work," he said.

On Monday, he said he'll "do anything to protect" his reputation. When asked whether he would go back if PBS later allows it, he said he didn't know.

"PBS made a huge mistake. They need to fix this. They need to correct this. But I don't know the answer."

It doesn't sound like that will happen soon. PBS said it stands by the integrity of its investigation.

"Mr. Smiley's own words today coupled with the information discovered during the investigation confirms PBS' decision to indefinitely suspend the distribution of 'Tavis Smiley,'" the network said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 611039

Reported Deaths: 9716
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion844351336
Lake45508685
Allen32891552
Hamilton29546315
St. Joseph27449381
Elkhart24440345
Vanderburgh19513250
Tippecanoe18043140
Johnson15140295
Porter14865169
Hendricks14440248
Madison11009222
Vigo10769181
Clark10731144
Monroe9424113
Delaware9152134
LaPorte9103164
Howard8268144
Kosciusko808983
Warrick676599
Hancock6741104
Bartholomew6523100
Floyd6469110
Wayne6157162
Grant6011116
Dubois556980
Boone554668
Morgan545795
Henry509764
Marshall505384
Cass485264
Dearborn483245
Noble474059
Jackson426747
Shelby419581
Lawrence392980
Clinton374243
Gibson372559
Harrison350945
DeKalb348264
Montgomery346554
Knox335839
Miami323044
Steuben314545
Whitley309726
Wabash304551
Adams302136
Ripley300046
Putnam297850
Huntington293159
Jasper290534
White274143
Daviess271274
Jefferson264738
Decatur248983
Fayette247848
Greene241162
Posey240328
Wells236451
LaGrange229662
Scott225739
Clay223532
Randolph214948
Jennings199336
Sullivan192933
Spencer192422
Washington187523
Fountain184627
Starke175643
Jay168223
Owen166837
Fulton164230
Orange160835
Carroll159115
Rush155818
Perry155229
Vermillion149334
Franklin149033
Tipton133033
Parke13088
Pike118226
Blackford111422
Pulaski97337
Newton91721
Brown88235
Benton86910
Crawford8069
Martin74413
Warren6857
Switzerland6665
Union6287
Ohio4957
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 864322

Reported Deaths: 10711
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101705707
Cuyahoga860661145
Hamilton64392448
Montgomery43309418
Summit35063761
Lucas31500625
Butler31128232
Stark25933435
Warren19746141
Lorain19165223
Mahoning17383338
Lake16178154
Clermont16057111
Delaware1445479
Licking13274137
Fairfield1287781
Trumbull12861316
Greene12114139
Medina11666168
Clark10995265
Wood10407158
Allen9945126
Portage9382109
Miami921073
Richland9186118
Marion7467113
Tuscarawas7410182
Columbiana7356124
Pickaway728450
Wayne7080171
Muskingum705241
Erie6188129
Hancock554390
Ross5532100
Scioto541664
Geauga513555
Darke471092
Lawrence457958
Ashtabula454673
Union454628
Sandusky438562
Mercer434489
Seneca431566
Huron430041
Auglaize423064
Shelby421922
Jefferson420569
Belmont417740
Washington391840
Athens38129
Putnam376275
Madison356529
Knox354422
Ashland347438
Fulton339343
Defiance332286
Crawford323874
Preble321437
Brown313921
Logan309132
Ottawa294943
Clinton290743
Williams279467
Highland276718
Jackson265345
Guernsey256326
Champaign252628
Fayette237330
Morrow23334
Perry232018
Holmes225674
Henry220149
Hardin214033
Coshocton205722
Van Wert202645
Gallia198826
Wyandot196151
Pike177417
Adams176915
Hocking172624
Carroll156216
Paulding144721
Noble120740
Meigs109024
Monroe101032
Harrison89421
Morgan83430
Vinton70813
Unassigned00
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