Tavis Smiley vows to fight for his reputation amid sexual misconduct allegations


PBS investigators were going to close their probe without talking to Smiley, he claimed, and only sat down with him after threatening to sue. They also accused Smiley of creating a hostile work environment.

During a live interview on "Good Morning America" Monday, Smiley, 53, Smiley admitted to having consensual relationships with coworkers over the years but denied that he has ever wielded his power as their boss to coerce those relationships. Tavis was accused of 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".

"I certainly understand people can have a viewpoint any consensual relationship in the workplace is wrong ... but there are also other points of view on this", he said.

He also said, "After finding out about it, my attorneys contacted the PBS investigators and offered to have them come talk to me, whatever they wanted".

"The environments are intense at times", he said. "I have emotions, and when the ball gets dropped", he has had to pick it back up. "They need to fix this".

Smiley claimed that PBS had more or less already chose to push him out, and that "the minute that three-hour meeting was over", PBS announced that they would stop distributing his show. "I'm not an angry black man and this notion of a hostile environment just doesn't fit".

Travis Smiley of PBS.

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Some of these women may have felt pressured to go along with Smiley's personal interest in them to maintain their employment.

"First, today on Good Morning America, Mr. Smiley acknowledged he has had multiple sexual encounters with his employees", the statement said.

Carlson understandably wondered then what Smiley talked about during that three-hour meeting with PBS reps.

Host fighting sexual misconduct allegations. This contradicts his Facebook post from last week, where he cited only one previous relationship with an employee. In our employee handbook, while we do not encourage office relationships, we don't forbid them either. because I don't know where your heart is going to lead you. So, I ask: "How does an how exclusive story break 12 minutes after we were informed that the plug is being pulled?"

"PBS stands by its decision to respect the anonymity of those who are afraid to come forward publicly".

Smiley said he can prove his relationships with employees were consensual "with letters, cards, gifts and, certainly, photographs".

The show - a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - was produced by the Saratoga Springs-based company Mills Entertainment, and to visit a number of stops, including Proctors Theater in Schenectady, beginning next year, the Nippertown online magazine reported.