Another one bites the dust, y’all.
The floodgates have been opened, and quickly, men in Hollywood are dropping like flies over sexual assault allegations. The latest celebrity to be accused of crossing the line, Tavis Smiley.
“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,” the network said in a statement. “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 statement concluded, “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.”
Variety first broke the news; the political analyst was dropped from the network after apparently having sexual relations with many women in the office who felt their jobs were contingent upon their relationship with Smiley.
According to sources, attorney Sarah Taylor Wirtz and the MSK firm, who was hired to handle the investigation, “took reports from 10 witnesses, a mix of men and women of different races and employment levels in Smiley’s organization, most of them former staffers.”
Smiley responded to the claims with a statement Thursday morning suggesting he has “the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years.”
Tavis also claimed he was unaware of the investigation. “PBS launched a so-called investigation of me without ever informing me. I learned of the investigation when former staffers started contacting me to share the uncomfortable experience of receiving a phone call from a stranger asking whether, I had ever done anything to make them uncomfortable, and if they could provide other names of persons to call. After 14 seasons, that’s how I learned of this inquiry, from the streets,” he wrote.
He added, “Put simply, 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. This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back.”
Click here to read the full statement and to see Smiley’s video message to his fans.
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