Tavis Smiley is refusing to back down in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations taking on his anonymous accusers and PBS. In an interview with Paula Farris on Good Morning America, Smiley admitted to having sexual relationships with people who worked at his talk show and sending them ‘lewd messages’ but was animate that there was never any form of misconduct.
‘I have never groped, I have never coerced, I have never exposed myself inappropriately,’ Smiley told Farris.
— Tavis Smiley (@tavissmiley) December 14, 2017
He also said that no favoritism or upward movement was provided to individuals who engaged in relationships with him over the years. “I intend to fight back,” said Smiley.
When asked if he had ever fired an employee he had a relationship with because they split, Smiley gave a carefully worded response. “First of all I own the company, and there is a team of people that run the company and I have never given anyone any employment instruction to do anything to anyone with whom I had a consensual relationship,” he explained.
He then said one person he had a relationship with still works at the company. As for the claims of a ‘verbally threatening environment,’ Smiley said that might just be the opinion of someone who could not handle the pressure of his workplace.