The legal tussle between PBS and Tavis Smiley is still ongoing, and a blow was handed out to the former television host this week. On Wednesday (March 4), the network won $1.5 million citing that Smiley violated a morality clause.
As reported by Variety, Smiley, 55, will have the pay the broadcaster stemming from his admission that he was involved in sexual relationships with members of his staff. Smiley has long contended that these relationships were consensual but PBS stood on the merits of the clause for seeking the damages. Smiley launched a $1 million lawsuit after he was fired in 2017 in the wake of the several allegations of sexual misconduct levied in his direction.
Smiley stated in his lawsuit that he was fired due to racial bias thus launching his legal missive and suing for back pay. PBS countersued having conducted an investigation launched in 2017 and discovered evidence of the allegations that apparently conflicted with the so-called morality clause.
PBS issued a statement in approval of the jury’s decision, citing that their side was “pleased.”
“PBS expects our producing partners to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect. It was important for us to ensure that the courageous women who came forward were able to share their stories and that we continue to uphold the values and standards of our organization,” read part of the statement.
The D.C. Superior Court decision will present a boost to those who spearheaded the #MeToo movement, with hopes that this could change the outcome in other similar cases down the line.
“Because of their voices and determination, and PBS’s fight against harassment, today another jury believed the women and reinforced their right to a safe and dignified workplace in a history-making verdict,” Tina Tchen, CEO of the Time’s Up Foundation, said in a statement.
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