After PBS confirmed Wednesday that they’ve suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley’s talk show amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the host responded by saying he plans to fight the smear of his name.
In a statement, PBS said they’ve received "multiple, credible allegations of conduct" that were inconsistent with its values. However, on his personal social media pages, Smiley refuted the claims and says he has nothing but respect for women, reported ABC News.
“I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth,” Smiley said in a statement posted on Facebook. “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.”
“This has gone too far. And I, for one, intend to fight back,” he added.
Also in his statement, Smiley alluded to a “consensual relationship” he had with a colleague and said PBS’ refusal to provide him with names of the accusers has stripped him of his due process.
“If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us,” he said.
“The PBS investigators refused to review any of my personal documentation, refused to provide me the names of any accusers, refused to speak to my current staff and refused to provide me any semblance of due process to defend myself against allegations from unknown sources,” Smiley added in his statement. “Their mind was made up.”
Additionally, Smiley called the investigation performed by PBS “biased and sloppy.”
“PBS launched a so-called investigation of me without ever informing me,” Smiley said. “Only after being threatened with a lawsuit, did PBS investigators reluctantly agree to interview me for three hours.”
In their investigation, investigators with PBS heard reports from ten witnesses who were a“mix of men and women of different races and employment levels in Smiley’s organization, most of them former staffers,” according to a report published by Variety.