Tavis Smiley, the former PBS host, is still suing the network over his firing.
In the latest twist of events, the PBS external investigation into Smiley’s behavior has been unsealed. As Deadline explained:
“The report was unsealed as part of legal documents filed in connection with ongoing lawsuits related to Smiley’s dismissal. The 500-page report on his alleged misconduct was filed by Smiley’s legal team as part of its breach of contract legal claims.”
Acccording to USA Today, the report included allegations of groping, inappropriate sexual comments, and sex with guests and subordinates. Smiley denies the claims but said he had had relationships with employees previously.
Smiley responded in a Facebook statement that reads, “A weak case you play in the press, a strong case you play out in a court of law. I look forward to my day in court February 10, which I have finally been granted, after 2 years of fighting.”
Smiley’s representatives declined to comment to iMediaEthics; iMediaEthics has contacted PBS for more information about the investigation.
Variety noted, “His own attorneys were the ones who filed the report from PBS’ outside investigator, which was then removed from the court docket on Friday.”
As iMediaEthics has reported, PBS suspended Smiley in December 2017 after receiving a complaint about his conduct. PBS also hired a law firm to investigate and said it found “multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS.” Smiley denied sexual misconduct and claimed PBS made “a huge mistake.” He said in an interview with Good Morning America at the time “I have never groped, I have never coerced, I have never exposed myself inappropriately to anyone in over 30 years, over 6 different networks, there has never been any allegation of that.” Smiley added that he owned his company and PBS was only a distributor.
In February 2018, Smiley sued PBS for breach of contract, intentional interference with contract and tortuous interference, claiming the investigation into him was “poorly executed and incomplete” and “trumped-up.”
In March 2018, PBS countersued Smiley for $1.9 million, claiming he broke the morals clause.