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Talk show host pursues business litigation against PBS

Many people in Florida may have been fans of the Public Broadcasting Service television talk show host, Tavis Smiley. Therefore, they may be concerned to hear that Smiley is pursuing legal action against the network, stating that the network wrongfully claimed he committed acts of sexual misconduct as a pretext for suspending his show. After conducting an investigation, the television station stated that Smiley engaged in sexual acts with workers in positions below him over the course of a number of years. According to the network, these alleged acts went against the standards PBS holds itself to.

However, Smiley has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against PBS. He believes the investigation was biased. He also claims that the investigation violated internal procedures. According to Smiley's lawsuit, the network was prepared to suspend his show without ever conducting an interview with him and without giving him the chance to address the allegations against him. Moreover, the lawsuit claims that the network treated him in a "racially hostile manner." Smiley maintains that he never engaged in any sexual misconduct in the workplace.

PBS has issued a statement stating that the lawsuit was meritless. The network maintains that it performed an investigation using an independent law firm following a complaint regarding Smiley's reported inappropriate actions. The network stated it interviewed Smiley. Following the reported interview and investigation, PBS believed Smiley engaged in acts of misconduct that went against the network's values. This is what PBS cited as its decision to drop his show.

Time will tell how this lawsuit will proceed, but it serves as an example that a good deal of business litigation these days involves allegations of sexual misconduct. Such allegations are very serious to both parties, so securing legal advice may be imperative to ensure an appropriate result is reached.

Source:, "Tavis Smiley sues PBS, saying sexual misconduct investigation was biased," Danielle Wiener-Bronner, Feb. 20, 2018

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