Tavis Smiley I'm Fighting Back Against PBS!!! Denies Sexual Misconduct

Tavis Smiley

Late Wednesday night, Tavis Smiley took to social media to defend himself against sexual misconduct allegations that were made against him.

In a statement, PBS, which distributes Smiley's critically acclaimed interview show to public television affiliates across the country, including WTTW-Channel 11 in Chicago, said: "PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley".

"Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of 'Tavis Smiley, ' produced by TS Media, an independent production company", the network said in a statement to PEOPLE.

Smiley accuses PBS of running a sloppy investigation and says he will fight back. "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".

According to the information shared to Variety, PBS hired a lawyer named Sarah Taylor Wirtz, from the firm MSK, to look into Smiley's history after hearing allegations of misconduct from staffers. Some witnesses reportedly said they anxious their employment was linked to the status of those relationships, and that they feared retaliation.

"I only learned of this investigation because former colleagues, former staffers started to call me to tell me they were getting a phone call from some PBS investigator asking, 'No". Additionally, Variety reports, witnesses said that Smiley had created "a verbally abusive and threatening environment" for his employees. Several expressed concerns about retaliation.

Variety first reported PBS' suspension of Smiley's show. "But let me assure you, I have never groped, inappropriately exposed myself or coerced any colleague in the workplace ever in my 30-year career".

In the vehicle with them traveling to their destination from the Bismarck airport was a woman that Jacques Hyzagi calls only Blanca - "a young woman that Tavis had picked up at the Orlando airport and brought along as a f-k buddy", Hyzagi wrote. Smiley is not employed by PBS. He apparently also asked Hyzagi to claim Blanca was his girlfriend if anyone were to bring her up.

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