Tavis Smiley pushes back against allegations of sexual misconduct: “I have never groped, I have never coerced, I have never exposed myself inappropriately…I celebrate and applaud these women who’ve had the courage to come out and tell their truth.” pic.twitter.com/VNuxgQczrS
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 18, 2017
NEW YORK (AP) — Tavis Smiley says PBS made a big mistake by suspending him from his talk show.
He tells ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday he’s never coerced anyone into a relationship but has had consensual relationships in the workplace. He says that wasn’t against his company’s policies.
He says he’s human and has made mistakes but they don’t merit suspension.
He says he applauds women coming forward to share their sexual assault and harassment experiences “to lead us in a conversation about how to create healthy workspaces.”
However he says it’s important not lose a sense of “proportionality” in the conversation, “because if we do people end up being guilty simply by accusation.”
PBS suspended Smiley after an investigation uncovered “multiple, credible allegations of conduct” inconsistent with PBS standards.
Smiley says he’ll fight to protect his reputation.
Viewers responded differently to the former PBS host’s interview.
Some applauded him telling his side of the story.
@tavissmiley has EVERY RIGHT to tell HIS story especially if the allegations aren’t true and if @PBS mishandled his termination. Not all of these accused men are guilty of harassment. Consensual sex with co-workers is real. Let’s be grow ups and not pretend. #TavisSmiley
— Ra Prescott (@radarprescott) December 18, 2017
IF anyone is accused of something, they have the right to face their accusers. Hard to defend yourself against accusations when no one comes forward with real facts
— L4TLPrisonMinistry (@Letters4theLord) December 18, 2017
And a few took his side.
I don't believe he did it either. I think there are some allegations coming out that are politically and financially motivated….
— Rich (@elsecreto4rico) December 18, 2017
I believe Tavis
— Appl3s (@appl3s) December 18, 2017
Still, others pushed back against Smiley.
@tavissmiley it’s very easy for a boss to manipulate a person into a sexual relationship then claim it’s consensual because they don’t run and tell.
— mia ❤ (@peace4me) December 18, 2017
I know you think highly of yourself, but if you are the boss, don’t get your honey where you get your money.
— atx1029 (@atx1029) December 18, 2017
Abusive people in the workplace NEVER think they’re abusive AND that’s the problem.
Blaming that the environment might not be ‘right for everyone’ is classic #TheSociopathicBusinessModel
where the abuser refuses to take accountability. #TavisSmiley refused accountability. pic.twitter.com/w32zyry0Ls
— KillingMyCareer (@MelaynaLokosky) December 18, 2017
Kiersten Willis contributed to this report.