Tavis Smiley intends to “fight back” against the allegations of sexual misconduct at PBS that led to his suspension from the broadcasting company, the television and radio host said in a video message posted to Facebook early Thursday morning. But it was unclear what real point of recourse he had as PBS continued its investigation that apparently yielded such damning findings that the company was compelled to put Tavis’ show on hold.
Smiley is denying everything except having a “consensual relationship with a colleague years ago” and said he was unsure what brought on the “so-called investigation” that could end his 30-year career in media.
“PBS launched a so-called investigation of me without ever informing me,” he wrote on Facebook. “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.”
In addition to being accused of creating a threatening and verbally abusive work environment, PBS alleged he had sexual relations with “multiple subordinates” and “some witnesses interviewed expressed concern that their employment status was linked to the status of a sexual relationship with Smiley.”
Black Twitter was holding karma responsible for what appears to be Smiley’s demise. It wasn’t that long ago that he went on a crusade against the first and only Black president, saying in part “that black people lost ground in every single leading economic category during the Obama years.” He would later write in Time that “friendships can get funky, but sometimes in life, you have to fight with your friends.”
In addition to his career possibly being over, Smiley said he was concerned about ever being able to get his good name back.
“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,” he wrote. “This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back.”
Watch his full video message below responding to the allegations.