Tavis Smiley has a major problem to the tune of about $1.5 million.
In 2017, Smiley was suspended following a series of sexual misconduct allegations. At trial, PBS invited half a dozen women to testify. Each claimed that they were pressured into relationships or had become victims of unwanted advances by the former late-night talk show host. Smiley argued that the relationships were consensual and rebutted that the company leaked the news to tarnish his image.
However, his misbehavior, ultimately, violated conduct agreements in his contract.
In a statement about the verdict, PBS said:
“We are pleased with the jury’s decision. PBS expects our producing partners to provide a workplace where people feel safe and are treated with dignity and respect. It was important for us to ensure that the courageous women who came forward were able to share their stories and that we continue to uphold the values and standards of our organization.”
In the era of the #MeToo movement, this win may help inform future, air-tight morals clauses that allow companies to sever contracts with problematic employees more swiftly.