Tavis Smiley slams sexual harassment allegations: 'I've never groped'

By Wade Sheridan  |  Dec. 18, 2017 at 11:47 AM
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Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Tavis Smiley fired back at the sexual misconduct allegations that suspended his PBS show Monday while appearing on Good Morning America.

Smiley's self-titled program which has appeared on PBS since 2004, was suspended recently after the broadcast company used an outside law firm to investigate allegations that were levied against the television host.

"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," PBS vice president for corporate communications Jennifer R. Byrne previously said in a statement.

"I've never groped, I've never coerced," Smiley said on the morning talk show. "I celebrate and applaud these women who had the courage to come out," he continued and said in today's climate, "people end up being guilty simply by accusations."

Smiley said on Good Morning America that he had relationships with women while working on his show, but can prove that those relationships were consensual.

"I certainly understand people can have a viewpoint any consensual relationship in the workplace is wrong ... but there are also other points of view on this," he said. "While we don't encourage [them] ...we don't forbid them."

Smiley also denied that he created a hostile work environment and said he wasn't sure if he would return to PBS. "PBS made a huge mistake here. They need to fix it. They need to correct it," he said. "I'm going to do anything to protect my reputation."

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