Back in December of 2017, PBS suspended Tavis Smiley from his show due to allegations of sexual misconduct. He filed a lawsuit against PBS for breach-of-contract and, according to the Associated Press, PBS filed a countersuit, claiming he violated a morals clause and it is seeking $1.9 million in returned salary. Now, Smiley just got a huge blow to his case.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “A Washington, D.C., judge on Thursday denied Smiley’s request for a motion to compel PBS to hand over certain documents as part of a discovery request the network challenged as overbroad.” PBS “argued that he was requesting documents that dated back more than a decade and weren’t relevant to the contract issues at hand, including the network’s sexual harassment policies since 2000 and any records of PBS managers having a relationship with a subordinate and the resulting disciplinary actions, if there were any.”
Judge Anthony Epstein wrote that PBS “is not entitled to conduct a fishing expedition concerning all romantic or personal relationships between superiors and subordinates within PBS or within companies with which PBS did business.”
This is a huge loss for Smiley, who was attempting to prove there were employees at PBS who had relationships between superiors and subordinates.
Back in December, Smiley told “Good Morning America,” “I have never groped, I have never coerced, I have never exposed myself inappropriately.” He admitted to having consensual relationships in the work place and slammed PBS for never giving him a chance to prove the relationships were consensual. “PBS only agreed to talk to me after weeks of investigation, which they didn’t tell me about… PBS never informed me that a complaint was even alleged.”