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Tavis Smiley Responds to Unsealed Sexual Harassment Docs: ‘I Look Forward to My Day in Court’

“A weak case you play in the press, a strong case you play out in a court of law,” ousted PBS host says

Ousted PBS host Tavis Smiley publicly responded Friday to the accusations of sexual harassment contained in a recently unsealed 2018 report, saying, “I look forward to my day in court.”

“A weak case you play in the press, a strong case you play out in a court of law,” Smiley wrote on his Facebook page, in a post widely distributed to press by a spokesperson. “I look forward to my day in court February 10, which I have finally been granted, after 2 years of fighting.”

Smiley and PBS have been locked in an ongoing legal battle since early 2018. Smiley sued the network after it canceled his eponymous talk show the year prior, leading PBS to file a countersuit in which the network said an investigation found “multiple, credible allegations” of workplace misconduct. The network is also seeking to reclaim $1.9 million in salary it had paid him.

On Thursday, a D.C. judge ruled against Smiley’s motion to have PBS’s countersuit dismissed. A trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 10.

PBS had not previously made public the findings of its investigation into Smiley’s behavior, but the report was unsealed this week as part of the ongoing legal wrangling. According to the report, compiled by an external investigator, Smiley is accused of misconduct dating back decades.

Multiple women told the investigator that they engaged in consensual relationships with Smiley while they were his subordinates, and others accused Smiley of making suggestive comments and inappropriate physical contact. At least one woman said she was terminated after others learned about her sexual relationship with Smiley.

Smiley has repeatedly denied all of the accusations, telling the investigators that he ceased all consensual relationships with employees more than a decade ago.