A new PBS investigative report revealed shocking details about former talk show host Tavis Smiley, claiming he engaged in sexual harassment for decades.
The report was conducted by an external investigator hired by PBS and concluded that Smiley engaged in sexual relationships with subordinates and guests on his show, and committed acts of verbal abuse, inappropriate touching, and made unwanted sexual comments, Deadline reports.
The 500-page report, which was unsealed as part of legal documents filed in connection with ongoing lawsuits related to the former talk show host’s dismissal, is being used by Smiley’s legal team as part of its breach of contract claims, Deadline reports.
PBS countersued, asking for $1.9 million in production advances to be returned, Deadline reports.
Allegations outlined in the now-unsealed report include a woman who said she was laid off from the show for allegedly knowing “too much” about Smiley’s actions. That woman also reported that Smiley asked about her bra size during a lunch they had together and he offered to take her to Victoria’s Secret, Deadline reports.
Additionally, several women reported the power differences between them and Smiley made for an uneasy consensual relationship with him, and one woman claimed she was terminated when others found out about her sexual relationship with him after being told it would be kept secret, Deadline reports.
In 2018, PBS ended its relationship with Smiley after nearly 14 years of him hosting the late-night talk show Tavis Smiley due to the network saying it had “uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS,” Deadline reports.
In response, Smiley accused PBS of racial bias, denied all of the allegations against him, and claimed he stopped all consensual relationships with employees 10 years before those accusations surfaced, Deadline reports.
On Thursday (Jan. 2), D.C. Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams ruled against a bid from Smiley’s defense to toss PBS’s lawsuit because the conduct they claim predated his current contract. Williams disagreed because PBS had also claimed more recent misconduct, which occurred during the period of his current contract, Deadline reports.