Tavis Smiley, the former PBS host, is officially ordered to pay $1.5 million to his employer after he was fired for allegations regarding sexual misconduct in the workplace.
Smiley was first suspended in 2017 during the height of the #metoo movement.
There were many allegations which surfaced from the staff. His nightly program that started airing on PBS in 2004 was suspended.
The company decided after an investigation following his behavior and they reported that they have “uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS.”
According to allegations, he had sexual relationships with many of the staff members and some of them felt that the relationship felt that it was connected to their employment status thus creating a hostile working scene.
In 2017, sources said that the company hired an outside law firm to investigate Smiley and interviewed about 10 employees from TS Media, others were former employees.
Racial bias was his allegation to the PBS.
He first sued them in D.C. Superior Court and said he was wrongly terminated without proof though he had acknowledged that he had some romantic relationships with his colleagues at the span of his career and was saying it was consensual.
He was seeking $1 million in cases. PBS made a counter-sued and said that Smiley owed the company for the season that didn’t air -$1.9 million in remaining production budget money cited to be returned.
Smiley has been with PBS for more than 10 years and broadcasted to more than 200 stations all over the country. He is black and was the only man who had become the sole host in the history of the network according to the lawsuit.
The issue of the network’s moral clause said romantic relationships in the working scene is not allowed and also noting that employees are not allowed to act in a way that would impact the employee or the network in a negative way.
6 female employees were heard by the jurors and were describing the misconduct. The former host denied the allegations. It took one day for the jury to finally reach a verdict for the civil case.
A spokesperson for PBS said, “We are pleased with the jury’s decision. 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 we continue to uphold the values and standards of our organization.”
Tina Tchen, President and CEO of Time’s Up Foundation made a statement too, “We owe a debt of gratitude to the six women who bravely spoke out about their experiences of sexual harassment at the hands of Tavis Smiley. 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 work in a history-making verdict.”
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