PBS Suspends Tavis Smiley After Sexual Harassment Claims

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Allegations of sexual misconduct against television host Tavis Smiley surfaced Wednesday, and PBS since has "suspended distribution" of his self-titled talk show, Variety reported.

The network suspended Smiley's show amid allegations of sexual misconduct among low-level staffers living in fear of losing their jobs.

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Tavis has not yet issued a statement and representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement announcing the late night talk show's suspension, PBS noted that an inquiry into Smiley's conduct uncovered "multiple, credible" allegations.

According to Variety, sources said PBS hired an outside law firm to conduct the investigation, which consisted of interviews from 10 employees of TS Media, some of which were past employees. Some of the witnesses felt that their employment status was linked to their relationships with Smiley, and said that Smiley created an abusive work environment. Several expressed concerns about retaliation. While PBS has been airing the series since 2004, it does not employ Smiley or his staff. He also hosted BET Tonight during the 1990s. Hyzagi described Smiley picking up a woman at the Orlando airport and bringing her along on a reporting trip as a "fuck buddy"; alleged that Smiley had a romantic relationship with another producer; and quoted Smiley denigrating PBS executives.

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Last year, Tavis and co-author David Ritz published Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson's Last Days just days before the seventh anniversary of the superstar's death.

Smiley now has a development deal with Warner Bros.

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