Tavis Smiley and his firing from the PBS network amid alleged sexual misconduct allegations tarnished the legacy of the longtime journalist, but he has resisted owning the claims. Smiley filed a lawsuit against his former employer on Tuesday (Feb. 20) over the allegations, saying that it was a breach of contract and caused financial losses towards his production company.
The Washington Post reports:
The public television network, based in Arlington, Va., dropped Smiley’s late-night interview program, “Tavis Smiley,” in December over what it said were “multiple, credible allegations” of workplace misconduct by the host. It did not spell out the accusations, but news reports said Smiley allegedly had sexual relationships with employees of his company, TS Media, and that some feared their jobs were in jeopardy if they refused.
Smiley has repeatedly said PBS never presented him with the names of his accusers, specific allegations, or details of an investigation into his workplace relationships that led up to his dismissal. He has vigorously defended himself in media interviews, and even staged a five-city tour last month in which he led panel discussions about workplace harassment.
“I’ve spent the bulk of my career in public media, so filing a lawsuit against PBS was the last thing I wanted to do,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “But litigation seems to be the only way to get at the truth.”
PBS issued a statement hitting back at Smiley’s lawsuit, calling the attempt “meritless” and framed it as a means of distraction from his actions.