After PBS announced it had suspended distribution of the Tavis Smiley show Wednesday after “multiple, credible” allegations of sexual misconduct,” the talk show host shot back at PBS saying that the station “overreacted.”
“On the eve of the 15th season and 3,000th episode of my nightly talk show, I was as shocked as anyone else by PBS’ announcement today. Variety knew before I did,” Smiley said in a Facebook post. “I have the utmost respect for women and celebrate the courage of those who have come forth to tell their truth. To be clear, I have never groped, coerced, or exposed myself inappropriately to any workplace colleague in my entire broadcast career, covering 6 networks over 30 years.
“PBS launched a so-called investigation of me without ever informing me,” he continued. “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.”
In that Facebook post, Smiley says he claimed one relationship the network uncovered was consensual.
The Tavis Smiley Show, which has aired on the network since 2004, is produced independently by Smiley’s production company TS Media. Smiley rose to prominence as a host on Black Entertainment Television in the 1990s and has been a commentator at ABC News, CNN, and NPR.