Tavis Smiley has taken to Twitter to respond to the suspension of his eponymous talk show on PBS after multiple women accused Smiley of sexual misconduct. The suspension was announced on Wednesday.
Smiley begins his long video statement by reiterating his “utmost respect for women” and also celebrating the “courage of those who have come forth of late to tell their own truth truth.” He denies groping or engaging in other sexual behaviors in the workplace. He then explains that he was not told about the investigation that PBS launched into him after hearing the accusations until after it had already been launched.
In a separate written statement also released by Smiley on his Facebook account, he seemingly admits to some form of relationship beyond a working one with colleagues. “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,” the talk show host wrote.
He ends the statement by blaming PBS for their handling of the situation. “PBS overreacted and conducted a biased and sloppy investigation, which led to a rush to judgment, and trampling on a reputation that I have spent an entire lifetime trying to establish,” Smiley wrote.
The initial story broke on Variety. Reports claimed that the PBS investigation had found Smiley had sexual relationships with various colleagues. Moreover, they “believed their jobs and potential promotions were dependent on their sexual relationship with Smiley.” Still others claimed that Smiley created “a threatening and verbally abusive environment” in the workplace.