In the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against Tavis Smiley, PBS has announced it will suspend distribution of his namesake talk show indefinitely.
The news was revealed in an exclusive report by Variety, who spoke to several sources close to the production.
"Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company," a PBS spokesperson told the publication. "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."
According to sources, the network hired attorney Sarah Taylor Wirtz to oversee an investigation into Smiley’s behavior, after multiple women accused the TV host of sexual misconduct. Wirtz reportedly took statements from Smiley as well as 10 witnesses—a mix of men and women of different races and employment levels.
Variety reports that the investigation found credible allegations that Smiley had sexual relationships with various subordinates. Sources said several of the staffers believed their jobs and potential promotions were dependent on their sexual relationship with Smiley. Others reportedly described Smiley’s behavior as creating a threatening and verbally abusive environment.
Though the Tavis Smiley show began airing on PBS in 2005, it’s important to note that the network does not directly employ Smiley. His NAACP Award-winning program is produced by his company TS Media and is distributed by PBS to cities across the country.