An internal investigator hired by PBS interviewed former colleagues and guests of the talk-show host which led to shocking findings.
According to Deadline, PBS hired an internal investigator who reportedly found he had engaged in sexual relationships with colleagues and guests. He also allegedly made unwanted sexual comments, committed acts of verbal abuse, and inappropriately touched numerous women.
One former employee alleged Smiley asked her to lunch, then asked about her bra size. On the drive back to the office he offered her a trip to Victoria’s Secret, reports Complex. She laughed off the comments but he allegedly persisted with the inappropriate questions. Smiley reportedly said, “If you don’t tell me what bra size you wear, I will make you walk back to the office.” According to the report, the woman was laid off from the show and was allegedly told that she “knew too much” about Smiley’s actions.
Several women admitted they had consensual sexual relationships with Smiley, but said ultimately this caused an uneasy shift in power dynamics. One former guest on the show claimed she wasn’t invited back even after submitting to Smiley.
An additional allegation that dates back to around the year 2000 in which one woman claimed Smiley grabbed her buttocks when they were taking a photograph together. She also shared that he purposely made contact between his penis and her buttocks.
In 2017, the defamed host had his eponymous talk show suspended after being accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior with colleagues. Numerous employees believed their roles “were dependent on their sexual relationships with Smiley,” reports Complex. Smiley denied the allegations on more than one occasion and called out PBS for a “biased and sloppy” investigation. He would later file a lawsuit over the suspension of his show.
Deadline shares that the report and legal actions directly stem from a 2018 decision by PBS to end its relationship with Smiley. PBS reportedly countersued and asked for $1.9 million in production advances to be returned. On Thursday, Smiley lost a bid to have PBS’s actions tossed.
Robyn Mowatt is a staff writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind @robyn_mowatt.