PBS says ‘Tavis Smiley needs to get his story straight’ after ‘GMA’ interview

PBS says ‘Tavis Smiley needs to get his story straight’ after ‘GMA’ interview

Tavis Smiley shot back on Facebook, vowing to fight back after PBS fired him amid allegations of sexual misconduct. (Dec. 14) AP In Tavis Smiley's first live interview since PBS suspended his late-night talk show over "multiple, credible allegations" of misconduct, the former host appeared on Good Morning America Monday, denying all wrongdoing and arguing the claims are untrue. And PBS was having none of it. Speaking to ABC News correspondent Paula Faris, Smiley admitted to engaging in workplace relationships, claiming they were consensual. "But there are also other points of view on this. In our employee handbook, while we do not encourage office relationships, we do not forbid them, either. Smiley also denied fostering a verbally abusive workplace environment, saying, "I have an intense environment. In consensual relationships, we use text messages to communicate," he told Faris. When asked about his former network, Smiley claimed that PBS "only agreed to talk to me after weeks of investigation they didn't tell me about," after he threatened to sue. Mr. Smiley’s own words today coupled with the information discovered during the investigation confirms PBS’ decision to indefinitely suspend the distribution of Tavis Smiley."

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Tavis Smiley shot back on Facebook, vowing to fight back after PBS fired him amid allegations of sexual misconduct. (Dec. 14) AP

In Tavis Smiley’s first live interview since PBS suspended his late-night talk show over “multiple, credible allegations” of misconduct, the former host appeared on Good Morning America Monday, denying all wrongdoing and arguing the claims are untrue. And PBS was having none of it.

Speaking to ABC News correspondent Paula Faris, Smiley admitted to engaging in workplace relationships, claiming they were consensual.

“I certainly understand people who have the viewpoint that any consensual relationship in the workplace is wrong,” Smiley said. “But there are also other points of view on this. Let me be clear: I own my company, PBS distributes my content. In our employee handbook, while we do not encourage office relationships, we do not forbid them, either. And we don’t forbid them because I don’t know where your heart is going to lead you. I don’t know who you’re going to hang out with, or date, or fall in love with. (There may be) millions of Americans watching right now who met their spouse at work.”

Smiley also denied fostering a verbally abusive workplace environment, saying, “I have an intense environment. … Some of the most intense places in our business are in control rooms around this country, that’s not for everyone, so it might be that the environment wasn’t good for you. … I’m not an angry black man, and this notion of a hostile environment just doesn’t fit.”

Smiley hosted Tavis Smiley, a half-hour interview program that premiered in 2004 and aired weeknights on PBS stations until it was suspended on Dec. 13. He…

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