Tavis Smiley called out PBS on Monday for making what he calls “a huge mistake” when it stopped distributing his show over allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
“Tavis Smiley needs to get his story straight,” a PBS spokesperson said in a statement.
On “GMA” – w Smiley maintained his innocence while also admitting to “Consensual” relationships with colleagues and an “Intense” atmosp during production – he faulted PBS for not sharing the identities of his accusers during an investigation conducted by an outside law firm.
“Witnesses who have bravely come forward to speak with the independent investigators retained by PBS report a fear of retribution for speaking out. PBS stands by its decision to respect the anonymity of those who are afraid to come forward publicly. Additional allegations are continuing to come to light since last week’s announcement,” the network spokesperson said.
Last week on Facebook, Smiley said, “I have 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 six networks over 30 years.”
On the show, “Mr. Smiley acknowledged he has had multiple sexual encounters with his employees, then struggled to recall the number of current employees with whom he has had sex,” the PBS spokesperson said.
Smiley said on “GMA” that he found out he was being investigated only after he got calls from former staffers who were getting “Strange phone calls asking strange questions.” That’s when he lawyered up.
“PBS made a huge mistake ,” Smiley said.
The broadcaster announced on Wednesday that it was suspending distribution of Smiley’s show, which is owned not by PBS but by Smiley’s company.