Due to allegations of sexual misconduct, PBS has suspended Tavis Smiley's eponymous talk show, Variety reports.
"Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley, produced by TS Media, an independent production company," the broadcaster said in a statement released today. PBS added that it has hired an outside law firm to investigate the allegations against Smiley.
"This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley," PBS said in its statement. "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 Variety's exclusive report, the investigation found evidence that Smiley engaged in sexual relationships with his employees and they feared termination if they rejected his advances. Multiple witnesses described the atmosphere cultivated by Smiley as "a verbally abusive and threatening environment." Many noted that they stayed silent due to fear of retribution.
Last month, PBS cancelled Charlie Rose's talk show one day after The Washington Post published a report detailing eight women's allegations that Rose sexually harassed them. Christiane Amanpour's CNN International show Amanpour now airs during Rose's former time slot.
If the investigation into Smiley results in his termination, this is another opportunity to replace him with a qualified woman. Firing sexual predators is all well and good, but the most effective way to reduce workplace sexual harassment is to promote more women to leadership roles. The #MeToo movement has given us the opportunity to do this in myriad industries.
Refinery29 has reached out to Tavis Smiley and PBS for comment.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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