Entertainment

Ex PBS producer wrote about Tavis Smiley’s ‘misogyny’ before suspension

Tavis Smiley appears at the 33rd annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles in 2016. PBS says it has suspended distribution of Smiley’s talk show after an independent investigation uncovered “multiple, credible allegations” of misconduct by its host.
Tavis Smiley appears at the 33rd annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles in 2016. PBS says it has suspended distribution of Smiley’s talk show after an independent investigation uncovered “multiple, credible allegations” of misconduct by its host. Invision/AP

Tavis Smiley fans, get used to seeing a little less of him.

The late-night talk show host has been suspended from the “The Tavis Smiley Show” on PBS amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Effective today, PBS has indefinitely suspended distribution of ‘Tavis Smiley,’ produced by TS Media, an independent production company,” the public broadcaster said. “PBS engaged an outside law firm to conduct an investigation immediately after learning of troubling allegations regarding Mr. Smiley. This investigation included interviews with witnesses as well as with Mr. Smiley. The inquiry uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct that is inconsistent with the values and standards of PBS, and the totality of this information led to today’s decision.”

According to an expose in Variety published Wednesday, the veteran journalist has been accused of untoward behavior by at least 10 people, both men and women.

Sources tell the entertainment industry publication that the network hired attorney Sarah Taylor Wirtz of the Los Angeles law firm, MSK, to oversee an investigation into Smiley.

This isn’t the first time viewers have heard about Smiley’s behavior in the workplace.

Back in February, in an op-ed piece for The Observer, a former senior producer for Smiley wrote of a trip he took with the host to North Dakota to tape a special in Standing Rock directed by the Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”), a graduate of Miami Southwest High School.

In the car with them traveling to their destination from the Bismarck airport was a woman that Jacques Hyzagi calls only Blanca — “a young woman that Tavis had picked up at the Orlando airport and brought along as a f--- buddy,” Hyzagi wrote.

The producer didn’t seem to think she was being treated particularly well.

“Tavis’ misogyny is always creeping around, barely camouflaged by Midwestern good manners in line with the most duplicitous guys who always open doors, buy flowers and carry luggage until their girlfriends end up scrambling for some hotline 800 number,” wrote Hyzagi, who then relays that Smiley gave him an order to not say anything about his new friend to anyone at work.

“If anyone back in L.A. mentions the name Blanca, just tell them she was your girlfriend, that you brought her along.”

Smiley’s future projects are currently up in the air, including a book “Before You Judge Me: The Triumph and Tragedy of Michael Jackson’s Last Days” and a tour revolving around the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “Death of a King.”

According to his Twitter account, Smiley will be in Philadelphia with the King tour in February.

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