Tavis Smiley Announces New Show After PBS Fallout

Tavis Smiley has now announced a new series called The Upside with Tavis Smiley. Said series will be focused on inspirational stories, so it should come as no surprise to learn that it will be available to interested individuals through The Word Network, which is a religious-themed channel aimed at black viewers. The choice to focus on inspirational stories seems like a deliberate choice to sidestep the issue of finding celebrities who are willing to be interviewed by Smiley, which is a serious concern because of the recent stories of sexual misconduct surrounding him.

What Happened to Tavis Smiley?

For those who are unfamiliar with those stories, what happened was that PBS learned about troubling claims about Smiley’s conduct at his workplace. As a result, PBS hired a law firm to conduct an investigation of the claims, which proceeded to turn up a number of credible claimants. This was enough for PBS to suspend Smiley’s series with them for an indefinite period of time, though the ultimate outcome has not been revealed at this point in time. In short, the claims were that Smiley had engaged in sexual relationships with multiple subordinates at his workplace. However, some of the people who had engaged in sexual relationships with him stated that they believed that their employment status was reliant on those relationships. Moreover, they claimed that Smiley had created a hostile, threatening environment through his actions, which raised serious concerns about potential retaliation.

As for Smiley, he denied the stories about him. He has acknowledged that he has had sexual relationships with subordinates at the workplace. However, he has stated that those sexual relationships were consensual in nature, stressing that he had never coerced, groped, or exposed himself to any of his subordinates at his workplace. Finally, Smiley stated his intent to fight back against PBS’s decision on the matter, which fits with his statement that PBS had gone too far on too little evidence in his opinion.

Further Considerations

It remains to be seen what will happen in regards to Smiley’s series with PBS, seeing as how it is possible that there will be further fallout in the times to come. Likewise, it remains to be seen what will happen with Smiley’s new series on The Word Network. Certainly, there is an audience for the sort of content that will be offered by the new series, but it remains to be seen whether the stories of sexual misconduct will hamper Smiley in the same way that they would have hampered something more similar to his previous series.

Besides the new series, it is interesting to note that Smiley has also voiced an intention to conduct a series of town hall-style meetings in a total of five cities. His plans are to talk about relationships in the workplace, so it seems that this will be a step in his current efforts to manage the consequences of the relevations from PBS. However, once more, it remains to be seen what will happen in these meetings as well as how they will affect his career.

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