"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.
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.