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Tavis Smiley found guilty by a jury, must pay PBS $1.5 million


Earl Gibson III/Getty ImagesTavis Smiley will have to pay his former network, PBS, close to $1.5 million after being found guilty of violating its morals clause on Wednesday.

According to The Wrap, a jury sided with PBS’ claim that the former late night talk show host should reimburse the network for $1.486 million in salary.

As previously reported, Smiley had been suspended in 2017 following allegations of sexual misconduct. Smiley subsequently sued PBS, claiming it created a fake investigation to get his show cancelled. PBS countersued, claiming that Smiley’s alleged behavior when it came to female subordinates was a breach of contract and went against its morals clause.

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

“We are pleased with the jury’s decision,” a PBS spokesperson said in a statement obtained by The Wrap. “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 we continue to uphold the values and standards of our organization.”

“With this jury verdict for PBS, companies now have another tool in their arsenal to ensure a safe and respectful workplace culture,” added Grace Speights, PBS’ lead attorney, in the statement.

“Especially in the entertainment industry, the enforcement of the morals clause in contracts hadn’t been previously tested in courts. This decision could impact the next wave of litigation in the #MeToo movement.”

Smiley has yet to comment on the verdict.

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