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Theater-Maya Angelou

Tavis Smiley has responded to PBS suspension and sexual misconduct allegations

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Updated December 14, 2017 03:28 PM EST

Tavis Smiley has responded to the allegations of sexual misconduct and PBS suspension.

Smiley posted to Facebook, saying PBS “overreacted” and calling it “a rush to judgment.” He said he has never harassed anyone and claimed one relationship the network uncovered was consensual.

On Wednesday PBS indefinitely suspended the distribution of Tavis Smiley's talk show after an independent investigation uncovered "multiple, credible allegations" of misconduct by its host.

“If having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago is the stuff that leads to this kind of public humiliation and personal destruction, heaven help us,” he said. “This has gone too far. And, I, for one, intend to fight back.”

PBS responded to Smiley’s accusations by saying it stands by the integrity of the investigation. “The totality of the investigation, which included Mr. Smiley, revealed a pattern of multiple relationships with subordinates over many years,” a PBS spokesperson said.

Smiley brought rare diversity to late-night TV and has drawn the ire of conservatives and liberals alike for some of his views. He has worked for six networks over a 30-year career.

His radio program “The Tavis Smiley Show” was distributed by Public Radio International from 2005 to 2013. He has been with PBS for 14 seasons and some 3,000 episodes.

Smiley also has a development deal with Warner Bros. Television and was working with J.J. Abrams to turn his new book about Michael Jackson’s last days and death into a limited TV series.

Smiley next month is expected to launch a nationwide 40-city tour of a theatrical production focusing on the last year of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. “Death of a King: A Live Theatrical Experience” is based on Smiley’s 2014 book of the same title and was to start Jan. 15, King’s birthday.

“Death of a King” is being produced by Mills Entertainment and has sponsorship from Walmart. Neither Walmart nor Mills immediately responded to requests for comment.

According to Variety, the investigation into Smiley found that he had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates and “creating a verbally abusive and threatening environment.”

Smiley claims, PBS “refused to provide me the names of any accusers, refused to speak to my current staff, and refused to provide me any semblance of due process to defend myself against allegations from unknown sources.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

PBS says it has indefinitely suspended distribution of Tavis Smiley's talk show after an independent investigation uncovered "multiple, credible allegations" of misconduct by its host.

The broadcaster said in a statement Wednesday that it hired a law firm to investigate "troubling allegations" about Smiley and that its findings prompted the indefinite suspension.

A representative for PBS declined to specify the nature of the allegations against Smiley, but said the investigation included interviews with him and "witnesses."

He is the latest high-profile public-broadcast figure to face allegations of sexual impropriety in recent months.

Journalist and host Charlie Rose was fired by PBS, CBS News and Bloomberg TV last month after eight women said Rose sexually harassed them during his time at the 'Charlie Rose Show.' That program, like Smiley’s, was independently produced and broadcast on PBS.

Smiley's nightly program has aired on PBS since 2004. His representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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