Tavis Smiley filed a lawsuit Tuesday morning against his old network, PBS for racial bias. Stating that the organization used allegations of sexual misconduct against him as a pretext to end a “tense” relationship.
PBS suspended distribution of “Tavis Smiley” in December following what it called “troubling allegations” against the news show’s namesake host.
Following an investigation into the accusations, PBS said Smiley had “multiple sexual encounters with subordinates over many years,” and engaged in conduct that was not consistent with the organization’s standards.
The complaint, filed in superior court in Washington, D.C., accuses PBS of breach of contract, saying the investigation into Smiley was “biased” and carried out “in violation of norms and procedures for conducting workplace investigations.”
“PBS was prepared to make its decision to suspend distribution of the show without interviewing Mr. Smiley and providing him with an opportunity to respond to specific allegations,” the complaint continued.
The suit also said that “over the years, PBS has acted in a racially hostile manner” against Smiley, who has been “the only person of color to have served as the solo host of a daily national show in the history of PBS.”
Tavis has already gotten back to work with a new series about inspirational stories.
The program, The Upside With Tavis Smiley, will be streamed online and shown on The Word Network, a religious-oriented cable and satellite channel directed at black viewers. Smiley also announced a five-city “town hall” tour to talk about relationships in the workplace.