Tavis Smiley says he was just as “shocked as you were” to learn about his sudden PBS suspension yesterday. He took to his official Facebook page today to address the sexual misconduct allegations against him, and says he intends to fight back.
“Let me say at the outset that I have the utmost respect for all women, and I certainly celebrate the courage of those women who have come forth of late to share their own truth,” he said. “Let me also assure you that I have never groped, inappropriately exposed myself or coerced any colleague in the workplace ever in my 30-year career.”
He said that PBS launched a “so-called investigation” without ever telling him. “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. After 14 seasons, that’s how I learned of this inquiry, from the streets,” he wrote on his page.
“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 added. “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. Their mind was made up.”
He concluded by saying it’s time for a real conversation in America, so men and women know how to engage in the workplace. “I look forward to actively participating in that conversation,” he said.
TSR STAFF: Myeisha E.! @Myeisha.essex on IG